Hard To Believe

IT’S HAPPENED BEFORE: Governments killing their own citizens for their political or spiritual beliefs. But it’s never happened like this.

It’s happened so often that the world doesn’t always pay attention. But is economic influence the reason, that this time, it’s going largely unreported? It’s hard to believe that doctors would carve up innocent people so their organs could be sold. It’s even harder to believe that major media are not investigating. Yet it happened tens of thousands of times, and may be happening still.

Hard to Believe is a documentary that examines the issue of forced live organ harvesting from Chinese prisoners of conscience, and the response—or lack of it—around the world. Produced by Swoop Films, two-time Emmy Award-winning director/producer, Ken Stone, and Irene Silber.

  • Ken Stone
  • Ken Stone, Irene Silber
  • Ken Stone, Irene Silber, Kay Rubacek
  • Ethan Gutman, David Matas, Enver Tohti
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Crimes, medical, human rights, china, politics, Current Affairs, Ethics
  • Runtime:
    56 minutes
  • Production Budget:
    200,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Israel, United Kingdom, United States
  • Language:
    Chinese, Czech, English, Hebrew
  • Shooting Format:
    HD Cam
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Vero Beach Wine + Film Festival
    United States
    June 10, 2016
  • Hoboken Film Festival Best Documentary
    United States
    June 4, 2016
    North American Premiere
    Best Documentary
  • IMPACT Doc Awards
    United States
    February 2, 2016
    Award of Excellence
  • Mumbai International Film Festival
    February 1, 2016
  • Film Casino
    November 4, 2015
    European Premiere
  • Accolade Global Film Festival
    La Jolla
    United States
    September 18, 2015
    Award of Excellence Special Mention
  • Accolade Global Film Competition
    La Jolla
    United States
    January 25, 2016
    Humanitarian Award - Outstanding Achievement
  • IndieFEST Film
    Villa La Jolla
    United States
    November 22, 2015
    Winner of Award of Excellence
  • London Film Awards
    United Kingdom
    Gold Lion Award
  • Global Cinema Film Festival of Boston
    United States
    Winner of Best Documentary Editing
  • 14th Mumbai International Film Festival
Distribution Information
  • Swoop Films
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Ken Stone

Ken Stone spent 20 years in American broadcast newsrooms – the bulk of that time at public television stations. His national awards include a duPont Silver Baton (Columbia University’s broadcast equivalent of its Pulitzer) and a Gabriel Award and he is a two-time documentary winner of a regional Emmy Award.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I had spent 20 years in radio and television newsrooms – and was currently well into my second decade as an independent producer and I had never heard of the term “live organ harvesting,” I had virtually no knowledge of Falun Gong, and I was pretty skeptical when I was first approached to do a documentary about it.

After some cursory research, when I saw all the information about allegations that prisoners of conscience have been killed so their organs could be transplanted, I realized I had stumbled on a gruesome murder mystery: tens of thousands of murders may have been committed and the mystery is that so few people are paying attention.

That is the story I wanted to tell. “Hard To Believe” is not a documentary that proves, once and for all, that large scale organ harvesting has been happening in China for more than a decade. Other journalists, researchers, doctors and human rights activists have tried to do that (and, with just a bit of effort, you can judge for yourself how convincing their case is). The mystery I wanted to unravel, is why so little attention has been paid to the people trying to make the case and, more importantly, why so little attention has been paid to the testimony from tens of thousands of people who spent time in Chinese labor camps.
You may be familiar with the quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., writing about the civil rights era in the United States: “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

One of the lessons, I think, from “Hard to Believe” is that so many good people—so many of us—haven’t just been silent, we haven’t even paid attention. I hope this film prompts a few more people to do so.

KEN STONE Director
“Hard To Believe”