I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter........
when I understood the power of story and
realized that the best way to inspire people's hearts and minds is not through
the law, but through the art of film.
I know I've succeeded........
in writing a compelling drama because of all
the complaints of sleeplessness I get from those who have attempted to use
Pearls of China as bedtime reading.
My inspiration to write PEARLS OF CHINA.......
arose while I traveled through China with my
husband. We were in Tibet during an uprising of Buddhist monks protesting the
destruction of their monasteries. The Chinese Communist Party cracked down on
this peaceful protest with deadly force. Horrified, I vowed to my husband, "If
I ever get the chance to show the world what the CCP is really about, I will
do it." Pearls of China was written in fulfillment of that vow.
What inspired you to write?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: My experience during the Chinese
crackdown in Tibet was my initial inspiration. Later, as a lawyer, I
had the opportunity to represent Chinese refugees in their cases for
political asylum in the United States. I heard appalling stories of
religious persecution and bloodshed in connection with the coercive
implementation of China's One Child Policy. I also learned about
China's practice of executing prisoners to extract their organs for
transplant. These memories haunted me to the point that I had to do
something. I resigned from my legal practice and wrote Pearls of
FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: First, I traveled in China and got a
first-hand view of the brutality of the Chinese Communist Party
towards religious and other dissidents. Second, I represented refugees
from China in their cases for political asylum in the United States.
Third, I became obsessed with the massive suffering caused by the
practices of the CCP. I began to read everything I could get my hands
on and to pull together an extensive library documenting these
practices. Interestingly, I did not know at the time that I was in
fact preparing to write a screenplay! Once I began the script, I
focused on spiritual preparation. I wrote the script with much prayer
and fasting, and others prayed and fasted for the project as well.
Since completing the script, I have shown it to numerous prominent
Chinese religious, legal and intellectual figures. They have all
confirmed that the practices of the CCP revealed in the screenplay are
current and accurate.
FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: Yes, this is my first script, and it
took about a year, off and on, to complete it, once I had finished my
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn:
I tend to write in fits and starts. My only requirement is to be well
caffeinated. It also helps to have at least one parrot on my shoulder.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring
screenwriters and why?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: Yes, definitely. When you are new and
don't yet have an agent, doing well in a screenplay contest can help
open doors to potential directors and producers.
What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers International
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: I entered because of the prestige of
the contest and because of those who will read my script if it places
in the top ten. I also entered this competition because if my script
wins or places, I won't lose the rights to it for a year. This is the
case in many other contests, which take out a one-year option on the
FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: Read Titanic. I love the way that
James Cameron embraced the sinking of the Titanic in the arms of a
tragic love story. The historical event and the romance reflect and
resonate off of each other. I have tried to achieve this effect with
the love story in Pearls of China.
FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: I am passionate about those who are
suffering unjustly. Whenever I feel tired or discouraged, I think
about someone who is being forced to have an abortion, or who is being
tortured for their faith, or who is being executed to have their
organs extracted for transplant – at that very moment – and it renews
my determination. If Pearls of China can help just one person escape
such a fate, then it is more than worth all the effort. I also feel
passionate about my other ministry, to orphans in war-torn Uganda.
FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: I admire the faith and passion
Randall Wallace brings to his work.
FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn:
I am searching for a director of
courage and conviction, one who cares deeply about human suffering,
and one who believes that love and faith can provide a way out. Pearls
of China is not a project for the faint of heart. It is, however, a
film that could have a major impact on a situation that cries out
desperately for justice. .
Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: I would love to work with Bai Ling.
Not only is she an excellent actress, but it was extremely courageous
for her to expose the unfairness of the Chinese legal system, as she
did in Red Corner.
FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: For emerging Christian screenwriters,
don't listen to those who say that Hollywood is hostile to Christians.
If you've got a great story and you've mastered your craft, your work
will be recognized. You should be encouraged that Pearls of China has
done well in this completely non-religious, Hollywood screenplay
contest. It can be done – don't give up!
FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn: I'm pulling together a team to
produce Pearls of China. It is urgent to get this film made soon, as
the attention of the world will be focused on China in connection with
the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the twentieth anniversary of the
Tiananmen Square massacre in 2009, and the World Exhibition in
Shanghai in 2010.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?
Regina Garcia Littlejohn:
I would like to have written and
produced several more screenplays. Like Pearls of China, these
screenplays will be designed to present, in dramatic form, a crucial
social issue. My vision is to wake up the somnolent West to the
pressing threats of our time. I believe the art of film is the most
powerful and effective way to do this.