Eight Days in Guangzhou
One of the first people I met at the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival was 范玲 Fan Ling. I had arrived in November 2008 after spending 5 weeks in Prague where I had directed a short documentary about the secret church under communism. During that time I made contact with Catholic priests, men and one woman, who had been secretly ordained. I spent hours with one priest listening to stories of how he and his friends had continued to practice their faith under a totalitarian regime. Ordained secretly in an unmarked house he re-counted the conditions that priests and nuns faced in concentration camps. Several women had been ordained in order to work with Christian women prisoners. Many priests met secretly after midnight in order to teach Catholicism, during the day they disguised themselves as window cleaners and factory workers. These were extraordinary survivors who had lived by their faith. In present day Czech Republic the Catholics I spoke to were still afraid to speak about their lives under communism. They feared retribution from other Catholics who held positions of power. The short film I made, alongside others, gained me entrance into the film festival as an International Producer. Having spent the morning on the streets of Guangzhou, mingling with crowds, I met Fan Ling, a young filmmaker. She was on her way to watch a documentary and invited me to accompany her to Feiyang Cinema City.
To be continued