Have just recommenced shooting and editing having returned from a whirlwind tour to the US first to attend the American Historical Association conference where my last film An Island Calling was showing (sharing a panel with the lovely Vilsoni Hereniko and Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka), then onto LA where we went to visit the Shoah Foundation Institute, which was begun by Steven Spielberg as an archive of Holocaust testimonies. Shoah’s mission statement is to ‘To overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry—and the suffering they cause—through the educational use of the Institute’s visual history testimonies’ and to date they have collected nearly 52,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses in 32 languages and from 56 countries.
I caught up with old friends and met new ones. Had one of those great mixed restaurant dinners which makes one feel a bit old -- Kiwis living in the US, Americans living in New Zealand, old friends from New York, Peter Gilbert who came over from Chicago and met new people, Abbie, Alan, Ben ...
Modelling ourselves on the Shoah example, we are now doing a series of life stories with “Khmer Kiwis” living here as part of the website that will accompany the film. Chakara and Anna have spent two days filming stories which we will excerpt, attaching them as an extensions to our website, in time making the entire stories available. We will house the master tapes with the Cambodian community here and hopefully this will start a move to accrue more stories for the future, and for the young. Meanwhile, I’m back at the editing bench extending our sample in the ever-ending search for more film funding.
No word yet on when Comrade Duch will be sentenced, which is the time we hope to return to film again.