Sunday, May 10, 2009

Outreach at its best

Across Cambodia there are thousands of villages filled with thousands of people who carry inside them the experiences of the Pol Pot time, as they call it. For the majority there is no opportunity to let it out but that's exactly what the filmmakers of We Want (u) to Know were able to do in a couple of villages in Kratie and Takeo provinces. They gave older villagers a voice to talk about and even act out their painful experiences and it worked for me. It also allowed the younger generation to find out first-hand about what really took place and which affected every family in Cambodia. This particular outreach program was a great success and that was epitomised when a grandmother who was able to supervise a re-enactment of her own husband's disappearance, said that she was happy she could tell her story at last, and that people listened. Italian filmmaker Ella Pugliese and her team did a great job in bringing these previously untold stories to life in a fresh and compelling way. I hope she is able to fulfil her wish for the film to be shown throughout Cambodia, as I think it will do a lot of good for a generation of people who have otherwise been tight-lipped about the horrific experiences they went through. It was a full-house at Meta House tonight as the filmmakers completed a successful 4-night screening run.

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Anonymous Mike Krause said...

Is it any wonder that education is the lowest priority for questionable (or just plain corrupt) governments? Great story and excellent to hear Andy, thanks!

May 11, 2009 at 12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woo! Slow down there, the guy above. A little prematured judgmental fella, aren't you? Where do you get all your information from wikipedia? Doing is harder than talking. Maybe, you should try to do something first before you self-righteously criticize it? I just love to hear how sympathetic and loving some people are. I know many people who are doing things to help out right now rather than running their mouth about the problems. You're not doing anyone any favor. You're just stating the problem. Or maybe you should try a taste of what 3 years 8 months and 20 days of year zero do to your society and then I'll listen to what you self-enlightened mind has to say.

May 11, 2009 at 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, having myself taking classes in photography and whatnot, I know a thing or two about the art and I got to say photographing something doesn't make you an expert on that object that you photographed. Sure, you like to think you understand it all because you see it all in all of its 3d dimensions. But can your photograph tell you if the perfect looking apple you got on your negative is rotten on the inside? Maybe there is something more to it than what you can see. Think about that.

May 11, 2009 at 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike Krause said...

Hmm, 'Anonymous'; not sure if that explains something. Anyway, not into getting into the 'who knows more war games' with you (whoever you may be ;). A wee bit judgemental of you to compress everything about where i'm 'coming from' from one blog comment post, nay? I love it; silly, disconnected inferences from every side! Facts are facts and I know ~plenty~ of Cambodians personally, thank you. Many of them have reiterated to me their displeasure at this particular aspect their government which explains in part why outsider artists with minimal (at best) funding have had to pick up the slack (as in this case). The 'good 'ol (and 'educated') US of A' isn't exactly leading the pack in terms of ethical behaviour either so lighten up yourself my friend, it's just an ~observation~, ok? Per the photography angle, i'm already up to things proactive and hopefully beneficial to the Cambodian community that you're clearly not in the loop with. Oops, I forgot; you know ~exactly~ why i'm doing what I doing, what all of my experiences have been, who I know in Cambodia, what I 'see' there per photography, about SE Asia in general, etc, etc... I was ~so~ confused; thanks for setting me straight ;).

May 11, 2009 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

I just heard some very sad news. Jens Joester, just 26 and who was part of the team that made We Want (U) to Know, and was the partner of director Ella Pugliese, died at the weekend when his body was found under a bridge in Kampot. It is believed he fell off the bridge, hit his head and drowned. He, Ella and their 3 yr old daughter were relaxing after months of intense work to get the documentary completed and following its successful launch two weeks ago. My condolences to Ella, their daughter and family and friends for their loss.

May 21, 2009 at 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Ella Pugliese said...

Thank you, Andy. I just read your comment now. Yes, it is terrible. We are back in Germany now, trying to cope with this sad, new life. Today it is exactly 2 months. It seems to be, as it has been ages.

July 16, 2009 at 5:02 PM  

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