Filming was completed last week in Suncheon on a short feature film on the life and death of Pastor Han Chung Ryeol, the Korean Chinese pastor murdered in Changbai, China on April 30, 2016.
American movie producer John Grooters Grooters Productions, in association with Voice of the Martyrs Korea, made the 6 minute film to show around the world in commemoration of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, which is always the first Sunday in November. Grooters is also the producer of the 2018 full-length feature film, Tortured for Christ, which tells the true story of Voice of the Martyrs founder, the Rev. Richard Wurmbrand. That film has won numerous awards, including “Best Drama – Gold” (2018 Telly Awards) and “Best Picture – Bronze” (2018 International Christian Visual Media).
Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Hyun Sook Foley says that the opportunity to share an episode from the life of Pastor Han with Christians around the world is especially gratifying.
Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Hyun Sook Foley Interview
“Pastor Han was our long-time friend and discipleship base leader,”
“North Korea sought to silence him through a violent death, but because of their action, his story will now be seen by millions who otherwise might never have heard his name. To have a producer-director the caliber of John Grooters here to make this movie is exciting. We are seeing audiences in Korea already responding enthusiastically to his recent movie, Tortured for Christ, which Voice of the Martyrs Korea brought to Korea with Korean subtitled and dubbed versions. But in many ways this Pastor Han video, though much shorter, can have an even greater impact because of the tens of thousands of churches globally that will show this specially-designated ‘International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church’ official video on November 3.”
Producer-director John Grooters says that he wants to share Pastor Han’s legacy with the world.
“We’ve come to South Korea to tell the story of a Chinese Pastor, Pastor Han, who had a ministry to the North Korean people. And Pastor Han gave his life for this ministry in 2016. He was assassinated. We want to honor his legacy and we want to be inspired by his courage, and we want to remember the sacrifice that our friends, and our brothers and sisters in Christ have made in sharing the hope and the good news of the Gospel to people all over the world.”
Producer-director John Grooters Interview
Grooters says he selected a site near Suncheon as the location for the film because of its similarity to the Chinese/North Korean border location where the action in the short film takes place.
“Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the movie down to the smallest detail,” says Grooters. “From kitchen furnishings to clothing, Voice of the Martyrs Korea has been a great help to us because of their 18 years of unique expertise in partnering with underground Christians in North Korea and China. They knew Pastor Han as a longtime friend and coworker, and so we know if they say the set, dialogue, and story are authentic, viewers worldwide are going to get a glimpse of something they’ve never seen before: underground church life in North Korea, and the story of the pastor whose work in leading many North Koreans to Christ continues to bear fruit to this day.”
Grooters Production Scene
Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Foley says the video is distributed not only to churches around the world but also to underground Christians in the more than 70 countries where Christians are persecuted, including North Korea.
“Through our own network, on SD cards, MP4 devices, and even via balloon launch into North Korea, the North Korean government will see that not only did they not silence Pastor Han, but they raised up his voice and his witness to encourage persecuted Christians around the world to imitate his faithfulness, and to challenge Christians in countries like South Korea to obey Hebrews 13:3: ‘Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.’”
Grooters Productions has returned to the United States for post-production and editing work on the video. The film will then be translated into more than a dozen languages and made available to churches to show on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on November 3. Korean churches interested in showing the video and obtaining other resources to commemorate the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church can contact Voice of the Martyrs Korea at 02-2065-0703 or via email at [email protected].