Iris Chang:

The Rape of Nanking


A film by Bill Spahic and Anne Pick


The story of one woman’s heroic battle for the truth


World Premiere

Bloor Cinema – 506 Bloor St. West, Toronto

November 12 – 7:00pm - Tickets $12 at the box office

Actress Olivia Cheng & Iris Chang’s Parents will be in attendance



(Toronto) Thursday, October 11, 2007 Iris Chang was the sort of person you encounter once in a lifetime.  Consumed by a desire for truth, she uncovered one of the world’s forgotten holocausts in her groundbreaking book, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. Her life and the struggle to write this book are now immortalized in Iris Chang: The Rape Of Nanking, a feature documentary in HD by Toronto-based Real to Reel Productions. The film will have its world premiere in Toronto on November 12, 2007, closely followed by a theatrical roll out in both film and digital cinemas throughout Asia.


Iris Chang’s dogged determination uncovered in graphic detail the Nanking Massacre, during which almost 300,000 Chinese women, children and soldiers were, in a matter of weeks, systematically raped, tortured and murdered by the invading Japanese forces. Published in 1997, her book made it immediately on to best-seller lists, including The New York Times, and was the first detailed English-language account of the atrocities that had a death toll exceeding Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.  More than just the orgy of violence, Iris also revealed the total disregard for human life by the Japanese soldiers and the concerted effort during the Cold War on the part of the West and even China to suppress what had happened. Thanks to her, many people know about the massacre, but they know little about the woman who brought it to the world’s attention.


Iris Chang: The Rape Of Nanking brings the audience along with Iris on her passionate pursuit of the truth. The film shows the effect on the author as she unearths extraordinary testimony: the stories of survivors, the diaries and films from western missionaries who stayed behind to create a safety zone for refugees, and the confessions of Japanese soldiers. Her painstaking research, pieced together in the film, reveals the enormity of the massacre and the frustrating and soul-destroying cover-up of the events that first hit international headlines in 1937. The theme of the film is man’s inhumanity to man and our own personal responsibility to prevent such horrors as Nanking, Auschwitz, Rwanda, and Darfur.  As Iris herself says in the opening of the film, “One of the greatest atrocities of world history is the rape of Nanking. All human beings are capable of committing these kinds of atrocities, not just the Japanese or the Germans. I think that all human beings have this capacity for great evil if put under the right social and political circumstances. The rape of Nanking was something that always could happen, and it did happen, and we have to learn from history if we want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”


Vancouver-based actress Olivia Cheng, who plays Iris in this film, was ironically already inspired by the book. After finishing her role in the Emmy-award winning Broken Trail with Robert Duvall, Olivia decided to pick up the book she had put off reading for years, Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking. As soon as the final page was turned she decided she had to play Iris one day.  Within months she won the role over 200 other actresses.


Sadly Iris Chang’s journey ended when she committed suicide in 2004. This film tells her story and honours her sacrifice, her courage and her mission.  December 13, 2007 marks the 70th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre as well, the 10th anniversary of the publication of Iris Chang’s book.  


Real to Reel Productions was established in 1986 by the films’ co-directors Anne Pick and Bill Spahic and has since evolved into one of Canada’s most respected independent factual production companies. Anne is an award-winning documentary producer, director and writer and one of the founding Board members of the internationally acclaimed Hot Docs Festival. Bill is a renowned First Assistant director in the feature film industry and also directs projects with Real to Reel.


Real to Reel and Toronto ALPHA are proud to present Iris Chang: The Rape Of Nanking  made possible with funding raised by Harmony Education Foundation and Toronto ALPHA, through the generosity of numerous donors in North America, and Asian theatrical distributor, Dadi Entertainment of Hong Kong. We also gratefully acknowledge the significant contribution of the Avery-Tsui Foundation without which this film would not have been made.  We would also like to express our gratitude to the following individuals: Ida and Glenn Chan, Ada Tang, Wendy and Alan Li, Ellen Pun, Lena Au-Yeung and CBC Dragon Inc. as well as 2,000 others.


Benefit Screenings to follow:

In Toronto

November 13 at 7:00pm

November 19 at 7:00pm

November 20 at 7:00pm

Tickets Available: General Admission $30, includes a commemorative book

Phone 416-222-5742



In Vancouver:

Ridge Theatre – 3131 Arbutus Street (at 16th Avenue)

November 15 at 7:15pm (Actress Olivia Cheng & Iris Chang’s Parents will be in attendance)

November 17 at 4:00pm (Actress Olivia Cheng & Iris Chang’s Parents will be in attendance)

November 22 at 7:15pm

November 25 at 4:00pm + 7:15pm

Tickets Available: General Admission $15 at the Ridge Theatre

V.I.P Reserved seats available for Nov 15 + 17 screenings $50

Phone 604-313-6000



Edmonton and Ottawa TBA.



For more info, to set up interviews, request screeners, get GAT:

Ingrid Hamilton  h/o: 416-482-6142  c: 416-731-3034

Corrine Leon   t: 514-603-6962


Pictures are available from the GAT Media Centre

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