Spencer Dale, a 26 year old Australian travelled to Phnom Penh, in 1971, and within days became a target of the communist Khmer Rouge.
A new film in production tells the true story of Spencer Dale, a 26 year old Australian who traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 1971, and was nearly captured by communist Khmer Rouge fighters. Rescued by General Norodom Chantaraingsey, a war hero of royal blood, Dale began a five-year friendship with the General that would see this young man help fight one of the bloodiest civil wars in modern history over the next five years.
Dale routinely went out on military operations, armed with movie and still cameras to document the action at the front lines. Dale narrowly escaped Cambodia shortly before Phnom Penh fell in 1975. His many hours of film and hundreds of photos, form a remarkable private chronicle of his extraordinary experiences and stories in what would be later known as the killing fields.
With your support, our team of experienced filmmakers will have the means to edit this material, license historical news footage, and shoot supporting interviews and scenes to complete this amazing true story of a young man's courage, commitment and love, and his personal struggle to help save a nation.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Let’s talk about what we have and don’t have, and the challenges we face in making this movie.
Firstly, we have as principal assets many hours of good quality original film footage that Dale shot over the five years he was in Cambodia. In addition, we have many hours of HD quality video of him shot by a small crew, of his subsequent visits there dating from the early 80”s to two recent visits in the last 12 months. All told, we have nearly 60 hours of material, and almost 1000 photographs to choose from during the editing process. We have over 12 hours of interview material of Dale speaking about the many experiences, people and places from which we will weave the most compelling stories into the movie. The story will be about Dale’s experiences, his friendships in Cambodia, and his many efforts to help General Chantaraingsey. His thoughts, feelings and evolution from a young idealistic man to a survivor, today wrestling with ghosts of the past and seeking closure, are the bones of this movie.
Our production team consists of five industry veterans, each of whom brings extensive experience in the production of documentaries, TV movies, cable series and corporate films. Much of the work to be done will be volunteer work.
The following lists elements that we must acquire, license and/or create:
• Historical TV news, film, print and other interview clips that will be intercut with our material.
• Additional interviews with others who were involved in, or can speak to the events portrayed.
• Soundtrack, including the many sound effects, music and dialogue tracks and mix.
• The possibility of filming re-creations of several scenes that Dale was not able to film himself, such as the day he was captured by three communist fighters with a knife at his throat. While not essential, the film would greatly benefit by some recreations, however, that is dependent upon whether we exceed our basic funding goal by a very significant amount.
• Having all the footage restored to the highest quality using the latest techniques, and preserved as a valuable historical record. This archive would eventually be donated to the people of Cambodia and historical organizations. At the moment, all of the footage is digitized using standard telecine equipment, and if necessary can be used as is, with some final color correction and adjustments.
• The editing and production of a documentary film is very time-consuming in all aspects. We estimate that we can accomplish this in about six months of work, without doing any re-creations, however, delays are possible in scheduling and availability of interviewees, and in the acquisition of supporting material. We are used to the workflows involved, and will endeavor to meet our deadlines.
Risks and contingencies to the project include:
• Failure to procure historical footage (as shown above we have enough material to make a completed documentary)
• Small crew, limited backup and time (the three editors are geographically dispersed allowing extended production cycle)
• Insufficient funding (will prevent recreations and certain historical footage and interviews, however the project can rely on the current inventory of footage, photographs, and interviews)
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.