Showed New Year Baby at the Fine Arts in Asheville, NC last night. Asheville is wonderful little mountain town with lefty tendencies, a lively art scene and eccentric townies.
The turnout was good and the audience seemed really moved and engaged with the film. A recurring theme in these screenings has been the one Cambodian in the audience. None of the stops on my Southern Circuit tour are home to large Cambodian communities. But there’s always one.
He was very moved by the film and shared with the audience his family’s story. When his mother was three months pregnant, her husband was killed by the Khmer Rouge. Instead of being named the “lucky child,” he was repeatedly called a curse by his own mother. At the end of the night, all I could do as give him a hug.
I had my first screening last night in High Point, NC as part of the Southern Circuit tour of independent filmmakers (www.southarts.org). For the next two weeks, I’ll be showing New Year Baby in nine different cities. Good thing I got a massage yesterday (thank you John and Astrud!)
We had a modest crowd, but one audience member in particular made it all worth it. A Cambodian American woman in her 50′s was there with a van-load of her Anglo American sponsors from a local Presbyterian church.
Her story was very similar to my family’s: surviving the Khmer Rouge, adopted surviving extended family, fleeing to Thai refugee camps. She was very moved by the film and told me about her son who is very near my age. He harbors, she fears, a surprising anger projected toward Cambodia and life in general.
It reminded me that even the second generation is effected by the trauma of the Khmer Rouge time whether it is expressed in guilt, over-achievement, or anger. What makes it worse is that often times, we cannot identify what is at the root of these emotions.
I gave her a copy if the film and told her that perhaps her son would like to see the film, hoping it would spark a new kind of conversation. She seemed grateful.