From filmmaker Socheata Poeuv:
We made this film not just to entertain and to inspire, but so that it can be used in the world. Specifically, NEW YEAR BABY will be used as an outreach tool to spark conversations in Cambodian communities and other communities about genocide, war and justice.
There is a culture of silence and denial around the Khmer Rouge history. Especially in Cambodia, my hope is that NEW YEAR BABY can be used to engage the population in a dialogue about the legacy of genocide in the context of the current tribunal to prosecute the Khmer Rouge.
We’re creating a Cambodian language version with dubbed voices. We’re also looking forward to creating a school curriculum that can accompany the film so it can used in classrooms to teach about genocide.
Her three favorite films:
That’s a very loaded question, but some of my favorites include Rabbit Proof Fence, The Fog of War and (so I don’t sound so austere) Groundhog Day.
Her advice for aspiring filmmakers:
Some professionals will tell you that you should really learn the ropes and apprentice with veterans before tackling the daunting challenge of making your own film. I did the complete opposite and just jumped into it. There’s no better way to learn than to do it. It’s not probable that you’ll get on PBS with your first film, but it is possible.
Socheata Poeuv is the CEO of Khmer Legacies, an organization whose mission is to create a video archive about the Cambodian genocide. Khmer Legacies has a goal of videotaping the testimonies of thousands of Cambodian survivors, having children interview their parents. Poeuv was selected as a 2007 Echoing Green Fellow and is a Visiting Fellow at the Yale University Genocide Studies Program. She co-founded Broken English Productions in New York City and worked on the staff at NBC News Dateline and with ABC News World News Tonight Weekend and NBC News Today. Poeuv graduated cum laude with a B.A. in English literature from Smith College in 2002 and studied for a year at Hertford College, Oxford.
Born in Japan in 1936 to Czechoslovak diplomat parents, Paul Fierlinger spent World War II in the United States before living in Communist Czechoslovakia for 20 years. While at Czech boarding school, 12-year-old Fierlinger created his first animated film by shooting drawings from his flipbook with a 16mm Bolex camera. In 1958, he established himself as Czechoslovakia's first independent producer of animated films for Prague TV, a division of Kratky Film. He produced close to 200 short and very short theatrical and TV films in Prague before he escaped to Western Europe in 1967. After animating films in Holland, France and Germany, he arrived in the United States one year later. In the U.S., Fierlinger began by first animating political commercials for Hubert Humphrey and many other political candidates. In 1971, he established his own studio, AR&T Associates, Inc. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In his more than 40-year career Fierlinger has created over 800 animated films which have garnered more than 200 major international awards. In addition to a Pew Charitable Arts grant for his body of work, Fierlinger's accolades include an Academy Award nomination for It's So Nice to Have a Wolf Around the House, many "Best of Festival" awards and numerous "Firsts" in educational films, TV commercials and children's films. He is the creator of Sesame Street's "Teeny Little Super Guy," and “The Adventures of Letterman” in Arabic, Nickelodeon’s Amby & Dexter, the acclaimed American Playhouse television feature "Drawn From Memory" and an award-winning animated mini-documentary series for cable TV's Oxygen network, Drawn From Life.
His PBS animated specials, STILL LIFE WITH ANIMATED DOGS and A Room Nearby, have each won the prestigious Peabody Award for excellence. Several of Fielinger’s films have become part of the permanent film collection of The Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, in New York.
Fierlinger is currently working on the animated feature film, My Dog Tulip, based on the book by J.R. Ackerley, slated for theatrical and home video release in 2008, featuring the voiceovers of Christopher Plummer, Lynne Redgrave, Isabella Rossellini and others.
Sandra and Paul Fierlinger have collaborated on animation projects for the past seven years. Sandra graduated in 1978 from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with the highest awards. She has worked with her husband on several dozen films for Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, American Playhouse and industrial and TV commercial clients.