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Year 33 Archives - Life, Love, V

Year 33

YEAR 33: Overcoming Darkness With The Arts In Cambodia

KJ4lyfe cropKathryn Lejeune and Janna Watkins are West Coast natives who are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a documentary they are making. The duo is interested in water conservation and other environmental issues, including composting, recycling, biodiversity, and permaculture. Their documentary, however, is a cultural one, revealing the dark and violent history of Cambodia and how it might be healed through the arts. Life, Love, V caught up with the two ladies recently to learn more.

What led you to want to make a documentary? And, why Cambodia?

One of our goals in life is to encourage people to break out of their routines and see how small the world really is. By opening minds and hearts to other ways of doing things, we think the world will be a better place. Documentaries can be an intimate way to bring someone’s personal story into the living rooms of anyone.

Kathryn has a background in film, while Janna got her degree in Chemistry. We had known each other for a while, but had never really hung out one on one. As soon as we spent some quality time together, a spark was lit and we knew we wanted to work as a team on something big. Our friendship is about mutual respect, cheerleading each other’s goals, similar work ethics, and knowing how to have fun through it all. Kathryn had been itching to make a documentary, Janna has a passion for clean water initiatives, and both wanted to discover something new about the world. Casting the net wide, we settled on Cambodia, which has a very interesting water situation, with the capital boasting some of the best access in the world, while rural areas experience some of the worst.

However, as we got deep into our research, we learned about Cambodia’s genocide under the Khmer Rouge that left 1/3 of the population- and 90% of artists and intellectuals—dead. This floored us. Then we heard rumors of a growing art scene and knew we had to rethink our angle completely.  We reached out to galleries, dance companies, and textile designers, and found our artists. Hearing their stories was enough for us to spend the past 2 years working without pay to bring YEAR 33 to the world. Continue reading

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