Lowell-inspired Kickstarter indie film project “Child Soldier: Sayon’s Story” gets full funding!

Sayon Soeun's official transit photo taken during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Feeling like a philanthropic cinephile? If so, just give yourself a few hours to peruse Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, today’s hot crowd-funding sites. We’ve enjoyed investing a few dollars here and there on some amazing, diverse film projects, including our latest find, The Bicycle City. However, we’re quite excited to announce that the Lowell-centric documentary Child Soldier: Sayon’s Story has received FULL funding on Kickstarter and we have all of YOU to thank! So many of you have helped raise awareness for this film and its funding initiatives on your personal social networks and through word-of-mouth. We’re certain the filmmaking team — Director/Producer Janet Gardner of The Gardner Documentary Group and Co-Producer/Lowell resident Sopheap Theam — is ecstatic and ready to continue full steam ahead with this very anticipated project.

Though Child Soldier has reached its $15,000 goal, it still has just over 20 days to go until it receives funding on August 18. This means there’s still time to donate and give the filmmakers that little extra boost above and beyond their original ask. As any filmmaker will tell you, projects NEVER stay within budget — extra dollars means extra piece of mind. We’ll be right there with you as we plan on making our own pledge this week.

Here is the official synopsis of Child Soldier: Sayon’s Story, direct from its Kickstarter pledge page:

Sayon Soeun today: Cambodian activist, community supporter and Lowell resident.

There are an estimated 300,000 child soldiers worldwide. This film shows how one of them came to grips with his childhood experiences, what he witnessed, and carried with him as he came of age. Child Soldier: Sayon’s Story tells the story of a former child-soldier under Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge. Abducted at the age of six, he is now a community activist in Lowell, Massachusetts. Sayon Soeun appears to be living the Khmer-American dream alongside his wife, her extended family, and a thriving Khmer community. However, painful questions persist concerning the years he spent under the brutal authority of the Khmer Rouge. After 35 years of absence, he recently made contact with three brothers and a sister he had assumed were dead. Sayon will follow up when he returns to Cambodia where he will search for the truth about a family he barely remembers and come to terms with his own experiences as a witness to genocidal crimes. He will be able to appreciate his cultural heritage, looted by the Khmer Rouge – the magnificent temples of Angkor.

We are great admirers of our dear friend Sayon, as are so many people here in the City of Lowell, which boasts the second highest Cambodian population right behind Long Beach, California. Supporting independent film is one of THE most rewarding things any motion picture fan can do — we hope you’ll be inspired to learn more about this admirable project, AND be inspired to contribute. Our sincerest thanks, and stay tuned for further updates as production continues!


Published by Lowell Film Collaborative

The Lowell Film Collaborative is a grassroots initiative in Lowell, MA, whose mission is to bring more cinematic awareness to the community.

2 thoughts on “Lowell-inspired Kickstarter indie film project “Child Soldier: Sayon’s Story” gets full funding!

  1. Thank you so much for this beautiful write up and for supporting Sayon’s documentary! You all have been so wonderfully generous.

    ~Sopheap Theam
    Co-Producer, CHILD SOLDIER: Sayon’s Story

  2. Our absolute PLEASURE, Sopheap! We’re SO thrilled for you and Sayon … please keep us posted on the progress! — S.C.

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