April 6 will mark 41 years since journalists and photographers started disappearing in Cambodia, but while time has not dampened the memories of their loved ones who continue to determine their whereabouts, other hic-cups threaten to spoil the search.
Lost Brothers is a feature film that follows war photographer Tim Page, 67, in his search for missing journalists, spurred on by a 40-year-old promise made with his colleagues that “no man be left behind”.
Page’s coworkers, Sean Flynn and Dana Stone, both photojournalists, were on assignment for Time magazine and CBS News when they were captured by communist guerillas in Cambodia in 1970. At the time of their disappearance, Flynn was 28 and Stone, 32. Their fate has yet to be discovered.
“This is a story about a man’s dogged determination and passion to find out the truth about his friends,” Mythic Films producer Angela Krass said.
Despite Page’s passionate perseverance and slow build-up of clues to keep the movie rolling, whether the filming will actually be completed lies in murky waters due to a lack of funding.
The production company behind Lost Brothers, Mythic Films, is trying to raise US$30,000 out of $50,000 needed to bring a film-crew and Page back to Cambodia to continue the search and uncover more truths.
They are raising the funds through fundraising website Kickstarter, and must raise the full amount by March 31.
“The fate of the missing is out there,” Lost Brothers director Ralph Hemecker said.
Hemecker has directed popular TV shows like Blue Bloods, The X-Files and Numb3rs.
“Tim is racing against a ticking clock. There is a real sense of urgency to get back to Cambodia in order to hear what the villagers and ones that know have to say before the living memory all but dies out,” he said.
The producers agreed there was too much to lose if the search did not quickly resume.
“Opportunities for closure – the stories of the missing and Tim’s search, the stories of the Cambodian people who took care of some of these missing men [will be lost],” Krass said, adding that many Cambodian families had been charged with caring for prisoners of war.
“We are hoping with this next search to interview … the Cambodian people who have memories of these captured journalists.”
Page said in a recent press statement that there were far too many cases where journalists and other members of the media had been harmed or lost as a result of reporting in conflict zones and then soon forgotten.
“In these strange days of 'dash-in and iPhone’ reportage, the cutting edge of journalism still takes hard casualties. In Libya Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros. [A couple weeks ago] Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik [were killed]. Others gravely wounded, multiple limbs lost. Countless get blown away with barely a mention,” he said, going on to quote Greek dramatist Aeschylus: “In war, truth is the first casualty.
“The passing of so much time without any information about our lost brothers brings with it a sense of urgency to get those last living memories from the people who saw, helped or maybe even fed foreigners who passed through their villages. This is a search for memories, not remains,” said the veteran journalist.