Set in a remote jungle region of Thailand, 150 underprivileged and orphaned students of the country’s first democratic school prepare to honor their remarkable adoptive mother on Mother’s Day
Interview with Writer/Director: Marvin Blunte
Main image: Rajani Dhonchai is honored on Mother’s Day. Credit: Courtesy of Aumedune Chanabuunwaranonth
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I stumbled across Children’s Village more or less by mistake while doing research for a different project. I found the unique concept of a democratic school that focused on the underprivileged to be so fascinating I decided to study it more. After a couple years of back and forth, I came to the conclusion that this was a story that needed to be told. As a filmmaker when you find yourself obsessively thinking about something, it usually means it's time to pick up the camera.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I think everyone that watches this film will have something unique to take away from it, but all viewers should walk away with some part of their faith in humanity restored. This is a story of human goodness at its highest level. It also shines a positive light on Thailand as a developing country with progressive minded people that are helping to move their country forward.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Motherhood is a strong theme in the film and one that we can all relate to. In this case, even though the main character isn’t the biological mother of these children, they still see her that way. Family bonds and gratitude are also major themes in the film and reflect the ideology of Thai culture. In the end I dedicated the film to my parents, because my time in the village made me realize how lucky I was growing up.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Being a documentary there was no script, but the original concept of the film was supposed to be much more of a traditional documentary. Over the course of development, I decided a more hands off, observational approach would be a better way to tell the story. I decided I wanted to capture a period of time to show people what the school is like rather than tell them through exposition filled interviews. The result made the film more immersive, yet does leave some questions for the viewer to learn on their own.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We are yet to have our world premiere, but test screenings of the work in progress were extremely positive. Many stated they found the film to be inspirational.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback hasn’t changed my view, but has reinforced the fact that many people find democratic education to be a viable alternative to standard education.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Filmmaking is essentially sharing stories. In order to share stories we need people to share them with. By making the film visible on wearemovingstories.com we hope to introduce this story to people who wouldn’t have otherwise heard about it.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are currently looking for distribution. Whether that comes via a sales agent is yet to be determined. While traditional distribution outlets are the goal, good old word of mouth is also essential on a film like this. In the meantime we find the film festival circuit extremely rewarding. If you want to see an incredible place with an incredible life philosophy, watch 6 Weeks to Mother’s Day.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Like any filmmaker, I hope for a positive reaction. I hope people will walk away feeling inspired with a new perspective on education, and a new appreciation of what their own family means to them.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Would you allow your children to attend a Summerhill school?
Would you like to add anything else?
Documentaries made by Westerners about developing countries almost always focus on the negative aspects of the country or past atrocities that have happened. The problem with this is that the overabundance of these documentaries paint a really one-dimensional picture and leads to ridiculous stereotypes. When exploring other cultures, responsible filmmaking should explore all avenues including positive stories and local heroes.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am currently working on a more investigative piece about the global impact of NGOs across the world.
Interview: November 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
6 WEEKS TO MOTHER’S DAY
Set in a remote jungle region of Thailand, 150 underprivileged and orphaned students of the country’s first democratic school prepare to honor their remarkable adoptive mother on Mother’s Day.
Length: 93 minutes
Director: Marvin Blunte
Producer: Ladawan Sondak
Writer: Marvin Blunte
About the writer, director and producer:
Director – Marvin Blunte:
Marvin has worked his way up by occupying almost every known position on both the crew and production side of the entertainment industry. As director, he brings extensive docu reality directing experience after taking the helm on such shows as Miami Ink, New York Ink, Meteorite Men and Construction Intervention for networks like History, Discovery and TLC. Marvin has directed over 125 hours of aired television programming and is also a skilled editor.
Producer - Ladawan Sondak:
With over 20 years experience in the entertainment industry, Ladawan Sondak (aka “Kung”) has worked as a producer on over 50 Thai based projects ranging from commercials to feature films. An expert in all things Thai, Kung has been a part of the project since day one. Her unyielding optimism, charm and work ethic define her as one of the jewels in South East Asia’s burgeoning film and television industry.
Rajani “Mother Aew” Dhongchai, the founder of Children’s Village school in Thailand
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Yes
Social media handles:
Fiscal sponsorship provided by the International Documentary Association (IDA).
Where will the film screen in the next month?
Visit film’s website to learn more about upcoming festivals and screenings to be announced:
World Premiere at DOC NYC on Nov. 16, 2017: http://www.docnyc.net/film/6-weeks-to-mothers-day/
Official Website: http://www.6weekstomothersday.com/