Angkor’s Children is about three young women who are creating a new cultural identity through their artistic disciplines. Because of their strength, tenacity, and independence, they are putting a new face on women in a traditional society in Cambodia. Fifty percent of the population is under the age of 21. The seeds of the Angkorian empire that built Angkor Wat in the 12th century have germinated in Angkor’s Children by moving beyond the survivors of genocide to the aspirations of a new generation who are using their talents to create a nationwide cultural revitalization and change.” It is a story told by Cambodians of energy, hope, and unexpected turns as they recaputre the ancient and embrace the modern to create their future.
Srepov, a young rural 20 year old wishes to revive ancient Cambodian smot singing, a form of music deeply integral to Khmer culture and especially Khmer Buddhism by coming to Phnom Phen to study with an ancient master. Phunam, a trash picker now a successful contortionist in the Battambang Circus, struggles with the burden of supporting her family and taking care of her mother who is dying of AIDS; and Saem, a former garment worker who has formed a garment worker all girl protest band, Messenger Band, is bringing positive change to workers as a social group by challenging gender stereotype, discrimination, and violence in society through their songs. All of these young Cambodians, through their art are turning the thirty year ‘killing fields’ legacy of Cambodia on its head and providing a fresh and exciting, albeit struggling, new culture that is emerging from the ashes.
Lauren Shaw is a tenured, Associate Professor in Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College since 1972 and helped form New England Women in Photography. She is the recipient of two National Endowment Regional Grants, and 11 Faculty Advancement Fund Grants. Her work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and in the collection of the Getty Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fogg Museum, High Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, the Library of Congress, Newark Museum, and the Farnsworth Museum. In 2009, she directed A Drop in the Bucket, a timely, hopeful, and lyrical tale about people reaching across international boundaries to help provide clean water in rural Cambodia. It won both audience and juror award at 2009 Filmanthropy Festival and has been an Official Selection in film festivals throughout the United States.