Chanthadeth Chanthalangsy has a complicated life history to go with his multi-syllabic name. Having a Lao father and a Cambodian mother, his name reflects a choice of necessity made by his parents before immigrating, as you will see in his short film below. Some footage from the Museum Archives’ Watson Kintner Collection of Cambodia and Laos in peacetime was used to enrich the film.
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‘Chanthadeth’ follows student’s journey of self-discovery by
Four years ago, Chanthadeth began his journey to make this film based on his lifelong struggle with his name. However, Chanthadeth found more than he was seeking in the process. By documenting his conversations with his parents about the origins of his name—some of which were the very first conversations on the subject with his parents—Chanthadeth was led down a path of self discovery.
“Growing up I didn’t really connect to my parents, but making the film made me really understand more about them and what they’ve been through,” Chanthadeth said. “They shared some experiences that I didn’t even want to ask before making the film.”
According to Southeast Asian Young Men’s Film Group director, Joseph Mills, this is precisely the point of the program.
“In some ways it is not really a film program as much as it is a program designed to connect kids with their culture and their parents and their communities,” Mills said.
Kudos to Chanthadeth for the great work.