Hendrik Voes and Johan Van Esschen were the first Protestant Reformation martyrs to be executed by being burned at the stake in the heart of Brussels. "Truth under fire" is a stirring and compelling documentary that explores their lives and deaths. As the Catholic Church faced challenges from a fresh wave of reformers in the early 16th century, this documentary takes us on a tour through these difficult times. We see Voes and Van Esschen's persistent adherence to their faith and their valiant resistance to the tyranny of the Church via their fascinating stories. You are going to be moved and inspired by the bravery and sacrifice of these two extraordinary individuals as you watch this sobering reminder of the strength of faith and the human spirit.Anyone with an interest in history, religion, or the fight for freedom of speech and ideas should watch this documentary.

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As the director of the documentary “Truth under fire" I have a personal connection to the subject matter. My name is Fernando Pauwels, and I was fired from the Catholic University of Leuven because of my faith. This experience led me to reflect on the significance of religious freedom and the importance of challenging the status quo when it becomes oppressive.

I wanted to bring attention to the courageous deeds of Johan Van Esschen and Hendrik Voes, whose names are not well known in history, through this documentary. They put everything on the line to confront the Catholic Church and open the door for the Protestant Reformation. Their story demonstrates the human spirit's capacity for bravery, resiliency, and standing up for what is right despite persecution.

I'm hoping that this film will make people stop and think about how important religious freedom still is and how we should never stop fighting against repressive systems that seek to crush it.

Fernando Pauwels

Fernando Pauwels


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