Friday, November 10, 2006

Brandon Eang - documenting his past

Film-maker Brandon Eang has to-date completed two documentaries about the country of his birth, Cambodia. The 36 year old teacher (pictured), based in Massachusetts, became a US citizen in 1997 and adopted the name Brandon, retaining his Khmer name of Wathana as his middle name. He had arrived in the States in 1981 from a Thai-border camp with the surviving members of his family and originally settled in California. His film work began when he returned to Cambodia in 1999 and produced an hour-long documentary called Floating on Lotus Flowers, in partnership with Matt Scott. The title came from an incident in his childhood where his life was saved by lotus flowers that kept him afloat after he was thrown into a pond to die. He lost two younger siblings who died of malnutrition before the Vietnamese liberated the camp they were held in. His documentary is based on his story of survival. His second documentary is called Devotion and it was filmed in 2002 and 2003. Dedicated to his mother, it looks at Cambodia from the female perspective and particularly around marriage customs. In addition to his film-making, his return visits to Cambodia have enabled him to raise funds for the village where he was born, Prek Temeak.

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