A couple of summers ago, I helped a young filmmaker in the final weeks of edit on a film about her life. Socheata Poeuv was born in a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand and lived almost all her life in Texas with her parents, two sisters and a brother.
But one Christmas she learned some truths about her family that had been concealed since the time she was born, after her parents fled the camps where the Khmer Rouge forced millions of Cambodians to go during Pol Pot’s reign of murder. Socheata learned her family was affected in profound ways.
The film, called New Year Baby, chronicles Socheata’s journey back to Cambodia with her parents, where she comes to understand the story behind the shocking news she got that one Christmas holiday.
The film is a lovely and moving story of a family coming to grips with a horrible past and a young woman finally comprehending so much about the history of her family and their home country. And it makes innovative use of animation to tell the story of the Khmer Rouge’s impact on Cambodia.
New Year Baby premieres on PBS tonight on WNET in New York on the program Independent Lens. To check local listing where it will play in your area, go here.