22 January 2009


Help make history

History isn't what has happened. History is what is known to have happened.

Five years ago today, Chea Vichea, the outspoken leader of Cambodia's garment workers, was shot down on the street in Phnom Penh. Within minutes, Bradley Cox was there with his camera as police swarmed the scene.

Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were arrested only days later, and Brad was there. The framing of these two innocent men started his five-year journey to record history as it happened.

"Who Killed Chea Vichea?" isn't even finished yet, and it's already having an impact. Samnang and Sok Oeun were released by the Supreme Court three weeks ago, after five years in prison. And again, Brad was there to film it.

Sok Sam Ouen (© John Vink)Brad with Samnang and his mom (© Loud Mouth Films)
Sam Oeun leaving court (photo © John Vink); Brad with Samnang and his mom

While it's impossible to know for sure why Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were released, many observers have told us that the film must have played a big part in the decision. The government was well aware of it, and the government relies on foreign aid.

But their names have not been cleared. The case against them has gone back to the appeals court. Meanwhile the real killers are still out there. The same is true of the killers of human rights advocate Om Radsady, radio announcer Chor Chatharith, actress Piseth Pilika and many others who have found themselves on the wrong side of power in Cambodia.

As long as these crimes go unpunished inside Cambodia and unknown outside Cambodia, fear will continue to rule. This film is meant to help change that fact.

A typical documentary of this scale costs $400,000 to $600,000. We are making our film for half of that. Beyond putting in our personal resources and countless hours of work, we are making every additional dollar count.

Why? Because like you, we're passionate about the truth. We're passionate about this case and we're passionate about human rights in Cambodia and around the world.

While we are receiving public television funding, it is not enough. We are only a few months away from finishing the movie but we still need to raise money to help pay for a small office space in New York, to help pay for an editor, for graphics and sound mixing, and more. For example:
  • $50 pays for a typical festival entrance fee
  • $200 pays for a hard drive, or for the rights to a video clip
  • $500 pays for one day's shooting
  • $1000 pays for screening the film for workers in Cambodia or another garment-producing country

If you can donate $200 or more we will list you as a donor on the big screen, on the home DVD and in the TV version if possible. In any case we will list your name on the web site. (Thanks again to those who are already there!)

Thank you for your support. May the new year bring justice and joy.

Rich Garella,
Jeffrey Saunders
and Bradley Cox

We received this note recently from one of our translators in Cambodia; for his own safety he doesn't want his name used:
This work made me more determined to fight in this highly unbalanced war. Compared to Vichea my sacrifice is much much less. How can I remain idle for Vichea's cause? Once again thanks for your help for the cause of my country. Your work has an incredible value.

One day, we will be able to give him the credit he deserves, along with all the other Cambodians who risked their own safety to help make this film. Your support now can bring that day closer.

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