The inspiration for documentary projects can come from anywhere. We live in a rapidly changing world, and people are hungry for stories and insights into different people, cultures, subjects, and concepts. From small slice-of-life short form to expansive multi-part series, documentaries can take many forms.
However, to begin your own documentary project, you’ll need to pitch it to others. And it was quite exciting in Asian side of the Doc 2018
Our latest project “Romusha of the Death Railway” hit the stage in pitching session 3 and received good critical reviews from jury and decision makers such as Arte, NHK World, and Discovery Networks Asia Pacific.
“This will recall that there was another group of people who had built the Death Railway with their lives.”
Nitchanan Kittikhun, a Documania’s producer, made a clear statement on the stage with Suphachai Thongsak, the director of the project. The two veteran documentary filmmakers presented the key concept story with good heart and precious details which made every minute of the pitching counted.
We received positive reviews from the jury who is a representative from NHK Japan said “This is a project that we want our people (the Japanese) to see the forgotten history. It’s important to record the story of people who reclaim their identity in cruel WWII event. Still, this project is unique! We haven’t heard the story from these people before”
During WWII, estimated 300,000 of Romusha or Asian Laborers were forced by Japanese Army to work on Thailand – Burma Railway. Just a few of them had a chance to return home. Most of them disappeared or died somewhere no one exactly knows. No cemetery. No name record. Nothing left to remind that Romusha was once the majority who built the Death Railway and experienced the most painful part of WWII history.
Chandra Sekaran had grown up in Malaysia with those untold memories from one of the survivors – his own father. He heard it, but never listened to it. After the father died, the son of Romusha realized that this missing piece of wartime might be lost forever. He needed to do something immediately. That was when he decided to walk into the forgotten history.
This is a mission against time. There are just a few of those Romusha still alive somewhere. P. Chandra Sekaran knows that this is the last chance to search for the survivors and record their oral history.
A total of 38 documentary projects from 7 countries were submitted to the ASD selection Jury, which selected only 10 projects to attend the intensive workshop, of which 7 were created by Thai producers.