Director Jason Loftus Talks Using Animation As “Part Of The Narrative” In Political Doc ‘Eternal Spring’ — Zurich Summit Studio

Jason Loftus says his latest documentary Eternal Spring, which is Canada’s submission for the International Oscar this year, presented a unique opportunity for him to explore the inner journey of an artist through his own animation.

The project, which screened at the Zurich Film Festival this weekend, follows the story of comic book illustrator and Chinese activist Daxiong (Justice League, Star Wars) who is forced to flee China when police raids sweep the country following a TV hacking from spiritual group Falun Gong.

“I was really interested in the idea of animation in documentary but there was something else this time which was this idea that the animation could be part of narrative or the artistic process could be part of the narrative,” Loftus tells Deadline’s Zurich Summit Studio. “So, it’s not just when you see the animation it’s this decision from the invisible hand of the director, this was an opportunity to pull the curtain back and see the artist at work and how his longing and nostalgia for his home town colors his artwork.”

He adds, “[Daxiong]’s drawings are so evocative.There was a TV hijacking in his hometown and while he wasn’t directly involved in the hijacking, he was part of the community and they were arresting everybody and he was uprooted. He had to flee his home and was briefly arrested, endured some torture and he had to leave his comic book studio and flee from there.”

Combining present-day footage with 3D animation inspired by Daxiong’s art, Eternal Spring retraces the event on its 20th anniversary and brings to life an unprecendented story of defiance, harrowing eyewitness accounts of persecution and a tale of determination to speak up for political and religious freedoms no matter the cost.

Loftus, who said he has always had “a fascination with Eastern philosophy and meditation,” says the documentary is a story about media censorship and misinformation and the need for transparency and freedom of speech.

“I had encountered Falun Gong before there was a crackdown in the late 90s when I was in high school and I remember when the ban happened and they started cracking down and arresting people who were doing this practice and just what I was hearing from the state narrative didn’t reconcile with what I experienced in Falun Gong.”

Check out the video above.


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