“The Rocket” WINNER of the World Narrative Competition and Best Actor at the Tribeca Film Festival 2013!
April 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
WINNER of the 12th Annual Tribeca Film Festival World Narrative Competition!!!
With over 10 years experience living and working in Far East Asia, Australian filmmaker Kim Mordaunt, demonstrates through the personal journey of a young, Laotian boy named “Ahlo” and Ahlo’s family and friends (in the story of the underdog), how present day Laos is rich in superstition, a war-torn past, economic corruption and development, heart, and hope.
When Mali, Ahlo’s beautiful mother, gives birth to Ahlo, she realizes she was carrying twins, however, one, “Little balls” is perfectly healthy, while the other is stillborn. Ahlo’s superstitious, Buddhist grandmother, believed that one of the twins is blessed, while the other cursed, and the baby could bring misfortune to the family. She wants Mali to kill the living child, while, naturally, the mother does not wish to do this. His mother and grandmother opt to keep Ahlo alive and decide not to tell anyone, especially his father, that he is, in fact, a twin.
Later on down the road, when Ahlo is a pre-teen, the family is told by Austral Laos Hydro Electric Energy Corporation that they will be constructing and filling in the upper catchment dams in their area, that their valley will be flooded, and their family will be uprooted from their village, offered a pay out, and be relocated to a better village that offers water and electricity. The grandmother is saddened that they have to leave their traditions behind, and when a catastrophic event occurs while they are “taking only what they need,” and relocating, she lets the cat out of the bag and screams, “Ahlo should have died like his twin brother. He is cursed.”
As they settle into their new village, Ahlo meets a young girl, Kia, and her alcoholic uncle, Yang Pao, or “Uncle Purple”, as he wears a purple suit, loves and resembles James Brown, and is a veteran, having served time in the military fighting wars. It does not take long for them to realize that the energy company has failed to keep their promises, are giving nothing back to “the little people,” and many are living in squallor, with no land to plant their symbolic mangoes, no water to drink, as it has not rained in days, and with no abundance of food to eat like in their old hometown.
When Ahlo hears about a rocket competition, where the grand prize is 10 million kip, he becomes creative and resourceful utilizing all of the life experiences from the land and his family and friends, to create a rocket that will lead them to a better home where he can finally plant the symbolic mango trees. Will he beat out last years Rocket Competition winner, with their entry named “The Million”? Will the gods be in his favour? Will the curse be lifted, so he won’t be hated any longer? MUST SEE!
Filmmaker, Director, and Screenwriter: Kim Mordaunt states,
“Multinational corporations need to be more ethical in their business relationships with Laos, and all of the developing world. Their compensation to traditional people and to the environment needs to be long-term. Traditional people, their histories, their stories are as precious as any and we have to help them not vanish into industrialization.”
Producer: Sylvia Wilczynski
Cinematographer: Andrew Commis
Sitthiphon Disamoe (Best Actor),
Loungnam Kaosainam, Thep Phongam, Bunsri Yindi, Sumrit Warin,
and Alice Keohavong
Article by Sharon Abella