In 1984, four Canadians took a film crew to Moscow and Leningrad to obtain secret interviews with Jews who had been denied the right to immigrate to Israel. When the KGB became aware of their intentions, they confiscated the film footage and interrogated the filmmakers. Unknown to the KGB, the Rawlings/Allen film team made two copies of the film, and three months later, through a complex network of cooperation, they were able to get the footage out of the Soviet Union.
The resulting 54-minute documentary, Gates of Brass, had it's Canadian premiere in Ottawa in October 1985. The film provides footage of the Russian revolution, World War II and the Six Day War, as well as dramatic recreations of scenes of oppression, and interviews with a number of Refuseniks (those Russian and Ukrainian Jews refused visas to Israel by the Soviet authorities), some of whom now reside in Israel, and with with the (then),recently released Anatoly Shcharansky, who for the previous nine years had been considered the symbol of Jews not allowed to leave the Soviet Union.
Gates of Brass was shown by Canadian producers Jay and Meridel Rawlings in fifty cities on an international tour. In a written statement about Gates of Brass, Meridel Rawlings stated: "To our knowledge, this is the first time that footage of this nature has reached the West. Having visited the Soviet Union three times...we were inspired to make a film giving a voice to these unfortunate people who are trapped inside of the Soviet Union.
At the time, the Rawlings hoped the film would serve to educate the general public that it was not just the Jews that were victims in the Soviet Union, but in fact, all people seeking basic human rights and religious freedom.
This film, produced by World Vistas / Israel Vision, won the First Production Award from the Canadian Film and Television Association. The Jewish Community worldwide used this film to educate and stir people into action. Consequently Jewish activists and Christian supporters joined together (often after viewing the film) and went into the streets and marched in front of Soviet Embassies worldwide crying out "Let My People Go".
We must never forget that the Lord has answered the daily "Amida" prayers of centuries of faithful Jewish people crying out for the "ingathering of the exiles". The pleas of the suffering Refuseniks were also heard from within the Soviet Union, and slowly, the Iron Curtain began to crumble.
Christians prayed and gave generously for flights and buses to bring them home. As Jews and Christians found a way to agree to a common purpose, then miracles took place. Over 1,000,000 former Soviet Jews were released home to Israel between 1991 and 2005.
Jerusalem Vistas/Israel Vision is Very Proud of their Award Winning Film...Gates of Brass