April 2006

Thank You to Patrick and Phillip

by socheata on April 24, 2006

I’m posting this thank you to two friends. -Socheata “Yesterday, Socheata Poeuv (Director of New Year Baby) spoke to a room of senior UN Officers and embassy diplomats at an event hosted by the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Justice Initiative. The other three speakers included the Cambodian Ambassador to the UN and two crafters of the upcoming Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Socheata was invited to both speak and screen the min trailer of the film. This was an opportunity to introduce our mission and the film’s quality to the highest level diplomats working in Cambodia and the world on human rights.

When I arrived, one of the organizers handed me a projector he didn’t know how to operate. No one know how to operate it. There was also no DVD player. We didn’t know if the projector was even compatible with my computer. I couldn’t make it work within the 30 min.

Then friends and doc filmmakers Philip Eisenstein and Patrick Horner arrived only to support our work. They not only spent the time hunched over the gear to make it work, Patrick pulled out his own laptop to sync with the unexplained projector. They got it to work briefly and then when it was time for Soch’s talk the lamp bulb would not turn on. In that 12th floor room of diplomats overlooking the UN building, while others listened to the conflict of international law, Patrick and Philip sat in the front row pressing every button on the projector, rebooting the computer and everything they (and I) could think of. They got it to work before the end of the event!

The crowd laughed and cried. The hosts later told us the trailer was the highlight of the event. A multi-Emmy award winning documentary maker passed Soch his card. The Justice Initiative expressed interest in using the finished film for their outreach in Cambodia and Socheata has a new relationship with the diplomatic human rights community.

This is all possible because Philip and Patrick showed up and were totally unreasonable and brilliant.”

-Charles Vogl
Broken English Productions


California Dreamin’

by socheata on April 7, 2006

Just returned from a visit to LA. Tuesday I met with the UCLA United Khmer Students Association. The gathering was an intimate one amid a rare rainstorm in Southern California. I was excited to find that the students were visibly moved by the trailer. Some of them shared that this project inspired them to interview their parents about their survival story. Thanks to Seng Peng for setting this up.

On Wednesday, I met with three staffers from the Shoah Foundation at USC. Thank you, Chaim Singer-Frankes for your support and encouragement. I wanted to learn everything I could about their process with a mind toward developing a project modeled after Shoah to archive videotape testimonies from Khmer Rouge survivors. What they have done is astounding and incredibly impressive. They have recorded 52,000 interviews from the survivors. All are cataloged and indexed to be keyword searchable. What a task! I asked them how many funds they acquired in seed money to start the project. All three piped in at once – anywhere from $11 million to $100 million to be exact. I became so intimidated by the project I created.

Then I remembered that 2.5 years ago when I started this documentary, I thought I could finish it in one year and with a mere $75,000. Sometimes naivete is the cure to courage.