"Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey," the Story of Former Child Soldier for the Khmer Rouge, To Be Shown at Dana Library on Sept. 19

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Co-producer Janet Gardner is available for interviews now through the screening.  Her office phone number is 212-279-5611.                                           


Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey, an award-winning documentary exploring the Cambodian genocide through the eyes of a former Khmer Rouge child soldier, will be shown at the Dana Library, fourth floor, Rutgers-Newark at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19.  Admission is free. The library is located at 185 University Ave.

The screening will be followed by a discussion featuring the film’s subject, Sayon Soeun, New Jersey filmmaker Janet Gardner, co-producer Sopheap Theam, and Dr. Alex Hinton, professor of anthropology and global affairs, at Rutgers-Newark.

The event is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights (CGHR), the Gardner Documentary Group, the Documentation Center of Cambodia and the Rutgers Division of Global Affairs (DGA). CGHR is under the direction of Hinton, who served as a consultant on the film and is an expert on the Cambodian genocide. The event is part of the DGA Graduate Colloquium/CGHR speaker series on Global Justice.

In the film, Soeun confronts his childhood experiences during Cambodia’s darkest hour; revealing for the first time what he witnessed and struggled with as he came of age.

Soeun was abducted at age 6 and exploited by the Khmer Rouge – his family life and education stolen. His recovery and redemption from unimaginable evil entails his transition from an orphanage in a refugee camp to his adoption by a loving American family in Connecticut. Now in his 40s, Soeun directs a charity called Light of Cambodian Children in Lowell, Mass., where he lives with his wife and child.

The 2013 film, winner of a Cine Golden Eagle Award, follows Soeun’s return to Cambodia where he finds family members who had lost but never forgotten him. Director and co-producer Janet Gardner says Soeun’s story shows “how children can be so easily exploited in war. I admire his ability to redeem himself from unimaginable evil and turn his life around after being a witness to so much genocide.”

A former print journalist and field producer, Gardner directs and produces documentaries that emphasize the human experience in the context of historic events. Her credits include the NEH -funded Mechanic to Millionaire: The Peter Cooper Story which won a CINE Golden Eagle in 2010; Precious Cargo produced in association with ITVS (PBS/ National Geographic Channels International, 2001); Siberian Dream, 2004; Dancing Through Death (PBS/ STARTV, 1999); and Emmy-nominated A World Beneath the War (PBS/ Discovery Channels International, 1997).

Established in 2007, CGHR studies world challenges ranging from the devastation of genocide to the process of conflict resolution and peace-building. Based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-Newark, CGHR comprises an internationally renowned group of advisors, faculty associates, and affiliated scholars who work on urgent world issues from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. Most recently, CGHR, in partnership with UNESCO, launched the Rutgers UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention, to which this event also is linked.

For further information about the documentary, visit* For more information about CGHR, visit, send email to

*The website for Lost Child ~ Sayon's Journey was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sandra Lanman,