Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey

Air date: 04/23/2015

Public Television Stations to Broadcast Award-Winning Film, Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey, To Coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the End of the Vietnam War and Beginning of the Cambodian Genocide


Premieres nationally beginning April 23, 2015 (check local listings)


The Cambodian Genocide, carried out by the Pol Pot-led Khmer Rouge regime, marked a dark period in Cambodia’s history, with the death of an estimated 1.7 million people from 1975 – 1979. The award-winning film Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey – premiering nationally on public television stations beginning April 23, 2015 (check local listings) – tells the story of that horrific genocide through the eyes of a former Khmer Rouge child soldier.

In New York, Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey will premiere on Thursday, April 30 at 10:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

The broadcast joins a week-long slate of public television programming related to Vietnam to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, and the rise of the Khmer Rouge regime that toppled the government of Cambodia in 1975.

The Khmer Rouge abducted Sayon Soeun at the age of six and used him as a child soldier in their brutal civil war. In this film, Sayon tells his own story, confronting his childhood experiences and revealing what he witnessed and struggled with as he came of age. Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey details Sayon’s recovery and the redemption he’s undergone since being taken in by an American family in 1983.

More than 30 years after leaving Cambodia, Sayon returns to meet people who claim to be his family and come to terms with what he went through. We will watch as Sayon struggles to heal his wounds and forgive the family he felt abandoned him. He must also forgive himself for his complicity as a Khmer Rouge child soldier.

Following the broadcast, the film will be available for streaming at thirteen.org/thirteen-specials. An embeddable preview clip is available at http://watch.thirteen.org/.

Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey is a production of The Gardner Documentary Group and a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. Janet Paxton Gardner is co-producer and director. Sopheap Theam is co-producer. Mitsuko Brooks is coordinating producer. Kevin Cloutier is cinematographer. Michael Grenadier is editor of this 57 minute version. For THIRTEEN: Stephanie Carter is producer.

Janet Paxton Gardner founded The Gardner Group, Inc., to direct and produce documentaries that emphasize the human experience in the context of historic events. Her previous films include Mechanic to Millionaire: The Peter Cooper Story, which won a CINE Golden Eagle; Precious Cargo, produced in association with ITVS (PBS/ National Geographic Channels International); Dancing Through Death (PBS/ STAR-TV); Emmy-­nominated A World Beneath the War (PBS/ Discovery Channels International); and The Last Ghost of War (PBS/PBS International).

Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey is made possible by Theodore Edson Parker Foundation, William Froelich Foundation, Richard K. and Nancy L. Donahue Charitable Foundations Trust, Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, Inc., Enterprise Bank & Trust Company, Greater Lowell Community Foundation, Geraldine Kunstadter and others.

For further information about Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey, visit lostchildthefilm.org. The website was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.




About WNET

As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.



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Sayon’s original family after he was taken from them as seen in “Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey.”

Sayon in Cambodia during the filming of “Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey.”

Sayon as a teenager in the United States. Credit: Courtesy of Susan Beers

Sayon in a Cambodian Temple

Sayon with the Takeo family during the filming of “Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey.”

Sayon Soeun is the subject of “Lost Child – Sayon’s Journey.” Credit: Photo by Barb Petricone

Sayon’s Soen transit photo. Credit: Courtesy of Sayon Soeun

Sayon’s Soen transit photo. Credit: Courtesy of Sayon Soeun