We are excited to announce that the Independent Television Services (ITVS) will feature New Year Baby from Saturday, August 6 to Monday, August 8 as part of a free, online film festival to celebrate its 20th anniversary! New Year Baby exemplifies ITVS’ mission to bring diverse voices and untold stories to public media. The festival will run from July to August and will screen 20 award-winning documentaries funded by ITVS over the past 20 years. We thank ITVS for its support of independent filmmakers, and we hope the festival will inspire more stories of healing.
From the ITVS Community Classroom on Facebook: “Beautifully told story about a young woman who goes back to Cambodia with her family to unravel the mysteries of their troubled history with the Khmer Rouge. Free for a limited time on the PBS online Video Player. Great complement to any class dealing with ethnic studies, conflict and resolution, human rights, refugee issues or Southeast Asian history.”
New Year Baby aired on Independent Lens on PBS on May 27, 2008. Our film was also featured on Global Voices this past weekend. Mark your calendars and check out www.itvs.org/indies-showcase to catch the film!
I’m so happy to announce the release of Echoing Green’s latest book Work on Purpose, a slim volume which I’m so proud to be profiled in. The book is intended to inspire a new generation of high school and college age students to pursue values-based careers. I am honored to be featured along with Cheryl Dorsey of Echoing Green, Marnie Oakes of Hallmark Community Solutions, Mark Hanis of the Save Darfur Coalition, and Andrew Youn of the One Acre Fund.
A few weeks ago was the book launch party where Mark and I spoke. I’ve said this many times because it’s so true — Echoing Green Fellows are the most courageous group of people that I know. Thank you God they’re around to encourage me to dream bigger and reach higher.
A few weeks ago, I spoke at Columbus Academy in Columbus, OH. I loved speaking there. The students were extraordinary, inquisitive and compassionate. I talked to them about how learning about genocide gives us an opportunity to examine our own conscience. My favorite student is named Maya Little, a Columbus senior who spent last summer in Cambodia observing the Khmer Rouge tribunals and learning about the media there. I feel more hopeful about America’s future!
My husband Charles was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia so when we were in Cambodia this past August and met some PCVs at an Embassy function he enthusiastically donated copies of New Year Baby to their office. We didn’t know where they would end up, but we hoped that we could seed the countryside with this story. I just recently began getting word from from a few PCVs who have show the film in their classrooms.
“This topic is extremely difficult to approach, but because of the movie, my students were able to learn about their country’s history. So thank you for making the bridge that I have been seeking.” — Kealan Waldron, PCV
“I sat at the back of the English Lab classroom, attempting unobtrusiveness as these young Khmer teacher trainees viewed the film. From their body language and comments to each other, I noted that they vacillated between laughter and tears, surprise and disbelief!” – Darlene Grant, PCV
The PCVs also shared responses from the students in their elementary English. Many students expressed real shock about the depiction of killing in the film. Though they may have some references to the Khmer Rouge times from their parents, they have never been presented with a coherent history. Many were deeply touched by the film.
I’m so proud New Year Baby is still getting out there!
I recently had the opportunity to meet one of my personal heroes – Mu Sochua. Sochua came to Yale to show a documentary film about sex trafficking in Cambodia, Red Light Children. She is featured in the documentary as one of two protagonists that is trying to end the inhumane industry in the country.
Her political outspokenness has gotten her in trouble from the Hun Sen government. From musochua.org, “Mu Sochua is currently battling governmental abuse of power in her own case, where she faces a possible jail term if the Cambodian Supreme Court upholds her criminal defamation conviction for criticizing the Prime Minister. Her case has been denounced internationally as a politically-motivated prosecution that violated principles of due process and freedom of expression.” From what I have read, international scrutiny has persuaded the government to take a lighter hand in dealing with her. We hope that this means she is no longer under threat of arrest.
Afterwards, Sochua and other friends in the Yale community enjoyed dinner in my home where we talked about Cambodia, women’s rights and her travels. I gave her a copy of New Year Baby, of course. She had said he wanted to see it, but did not feel ready until recently. Safe travels, Lok Mieng.