New Asian Currents [THAILAND]

A Short Journey

Keng Dern Tang

- THAILAND / 2003 / Thai / Color / Video / 5 min

Director, Photography, Editing: Tanon Sattarujawong
Production Company, Source: Filmnomenon
35-52 33rd Street, Apt. 3 Astoria, New York 11106 USA
Phone: 1-347-204-3446
E-mail: filmnomenon@ownmail.net

Keng, a seven-year-old streetwise kid, sits on the curb along a busy street in Chiang Mai. He lives with his family on the streets, but wants to go to school. First, he must convince his alcoholic father. This short work reflects a bleak, unembellished reality with minimal imagery.

[Director’s Statement] I believe that every documentary film is a journey. It’s a journey the filmmaker takes to be surrounded by or to jump into a topic or an environment, familiar or unfamiliar. The film is of course the result of that encounter.

A Short Journey might be regarded as an “unfinished” film because it is a small piece of Keng’s life. My intention is to document his life as he grows up, which means this is just the first chapter of a seven-year-old boy living on the street with his alcoholic family.

Looking back on the making of the film, I was also fascinated by the way technology has facilitated the need for us filmmakers to tell stories. I have always been interested in stories of ordinary people, who I regard as the overlooked ones. Keng’s short journey was one of them. There are many kids living on the streets and there are some volunteers, like Poj, who try to help them everyday, everywhere in the world. Some stories are more dramatic, some less, but equally interesting.

I really do hope that the development of technology will give us opportunities to look into the stories that were previously overlooked.

- Tanon Sattarujawong

Born in Thailand. Currently is a graduate student at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He was the first film student to receive a scholarship from the Anandamahidol Foundation, the most highly regarded academic scholarship under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King of Thailand. Before going to NYU, his films This’s Connected? and Alternate Route won awards for best short film and best documentary film at Thailand’s National Film Awards 2000. He received scholarships from the World Studio Foundation for two years and a thesis film award from Fuji Film in 2003. Works include Enlightenment and A Temporary Nirvana. He is interested in real lives and stories on the street, and has found a way of working that blends non-fiction and fiction to capture details and draw inspiration from reality.

• New Asian Currents | Sand and Water | Wellspring | Three-Five People | Homesick | The Circle’s Corner | The Maze of Lanes | Nee Engey—Where Are You | NEW (IMPROVED) DELHI—Director’s Cut | A Night of Prophecy | 150 Seconds Ago | The Ballad of Life | Noah’s Ark | The Old Man of Hara | Dandelion | Hibakusha—At the End of the World | 3rd Vol.2—2 Light House | And Thereafter | Dust Buries Sabuk | Family Project: House of a Father | Edit | Gina Kim’s Video Diary | Ordo | Her and Him Van Leo | The Big Durian | Perpetual Motion | Debris | Hard Good Life | Nail | The Rhythm in Wulu Village | A Short Journey • Jurors | Kim Dong-won | Kawase Naomi • New Asian Currents Special | Part 1 | Part 2