One of the greatest things about attending SIFT this year was meeting some wonderful filmmakers. Paramita Nath is a Toronto native who has just had her first film, a documentary short, accepted at the Palm Springs Shortfest in California. Although it might officially be the world premiere, we were lucky enough to see it in our documentary workshop first.
Found packs a lot into its brief 6-minute running time. It tells the life story of Toronto poet Souvankham Thammavongsa through a notebook that she found after her father discarded it. Using her own poetry, animation, home video and excerpts from her father’s notebook, Thammavongsa herself narrates how she made her way as a premature baby from a Lao refugee camp in Thailand all the way to Toronto. By preserving the essential mystery of what’s actually in the notebook, and therefore leaving her father an enigma, Thammavongsa’s story seems like the beginning of a longer quest to find out who she is, and this small evocative film makes the viewer curious to discover more of the poetry that accompanies the beautifully-captured images (captured, incidentally, by Jennifer Baichwal’s husband and regular cinematographer, Nick de Pencier).
Palm Springs Shortfest runs from June 23–29 and Found will be screening on Wednesday June 24 at 7:00pm.