Winner: Rogers Audience Award
Animated reenactments tell the story of a group of activists hijacking the TV signal in China in Eternal Spring. In March 2002, members of the Buddist spiritual group Falun Gong hacked the signal of the state TV station in Changchun City, in response to the Chinese government banning the practice and spreading misinformation. Many years later, Daxiong, a comic book artist forced to flee Changchun in the aftermath, visits the surviving participants of this hijacking, the story of whom is animated using Daxiong's art.
Eternal Spring is a documentary directed by Jason Loftus (Ask No Questions), which utilizes a unique form of animation, where 3D models are superimposed with the artwork of comic book artist Daxiong. Daxiong is a practitioner of Falun Gong, which resulted in him having to flee his hometown of Changchun, as the police apprehended over 2000 people in response to the TV hijacking. Two decades after the hijacking, Daxiong meets with those responsible and illustrates their story.
Eternal Spring, the title of which is the anglicized name for the city of Changchun, follows on the heels of last year's Flee to show how documentary and animation can be combined to create an entirely unique viewing experience. In fact, Eternal Spring plays out very much like a heist film, as the animation shows how the plan came to fruition. While the actions of these activists were ultimately all for naught, Eternal Spring still celebrates them as people who were able to put the greater good ahead of themselves.