Two freelance documentary filmmakers and their producer have been in Mae Sai this week shooting a documentary about DEPDC for a thirteen part series called Faces of Asia that will air on Al Jazeera at the end of this year. Faces of Asia is a series that will showcase several heavy hitting humanitarians throughout Southeast Asia including Muhammad Yunus and DEPDC’s founder, Sompop Jantraka. The series will shed light on the humanitarian issues in this part of the world as well as show what several amazing social entrepreneurs are doing in the good fight.
DEPDC met with the director of the film when I first arrived in Mae Sai and I was fortunate to sit in on the meeting. After several weeks of negotiating, scheduling and coordinating, the crew finally arrived to do their five-day shoot in and around Mae Sai. My access to the filmmakers, up until yesterday, hadn’t been much. Mostly they’d been shooting footage of Sompop and the directors of DEPDC. They also did a segment with the international volunteer coordinator and some of the students.
While I didn’t want to be in their way, I did want to see the action, talk to them a bit about their work as freelancers, and photograph the process for DEPDC’s blog and newsletter. So I approached them. This led to us talking and getting to know each other, which lead to an invitation to lunch and coffee, which lead to them asking me to be in a segment of the film! I honestly didn’t see that one coming. Nor was it ever my intention. But how could I say no? So what if my hair’s unwashed and I have lemongrass stuck in my teeth? This is Al Jazeera for crissakes! So, I put my best foot forward and went for it. I’m used to being behind the camera not in front of it and it’s a different ball of wax when it’s motion picture. But I did what I could. Hopefully I was natural and they have good editors! By the time we were shooting, I’d become comfortable with the camera man and director and I think they were comfortable with me. The whole process was pretty down-to-earth and informal.
We shot two separate segments. I cannot tell you the details until my agent clears it. Nor would I want to spoil the surprise. Okay, okay, so I don’t have an agent and it’s highly likely that the short segments I was in will not make it past the editing room floor, but the experience alone was worth it! I think the series will be amazing and it is great exposure for DEPDC and human trafficking awareness in general. Plus, the director was hella cute!