Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Welcome to the South . . .

I had my first screening last night in High Point, NC as part of the Southern Circuit tour of independent filmmakers (www.southarts.org). 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 of 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.