Megan Webber sat down this month to speak with Lara Damiani, director/producer of the beautiful documentary, “Little Bang’s New Eye,” to learn about what inspired her to tell Bang’s story. In a captivating 14 minute short film, Lara managed to capture this amazing journey. Throughout her career, Lara had focused on social and community issues. Wanting to start a project in Burma, she read about Dr. James Muecke who was filming there with famed Australian director, Scott Hicks and she found herself intrigued. Dr. Muecke is a founder of an Australian NGO, Sight For All, and Lara spoke with him about her interest in filming his next trip! While he could not pay her for the work Dr. Muecke invited her on to Vietnam and Bangladesh and in exchange for the work he was able to at least cover her travel expenses. A deal was struck and an adventure began.
Watching the documentary about Vietnam feels organic, and it is hard to believe there was not a plan in place for the film. Lara honed in on Dr. Chau, an ophthalmologist at the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology, who is full of joy and bubbles with ideas making for the perfect character for Lara to follow. Dr. Chau’s heart is so big and is ever-present throughout the film with her constant smile!
One day at the hospital, a young girl, Bang, from a mountain village was being examined and Dr. Chau thought that Lara might be interested in filming. Lara went back with Bang and traveled with the family to their distant village. She was received by Bang’s extended family on motorbikes ready to greet and welcome her and drive her the remaining way on small dirt roads to the village home. Lara was overwhelmed with emotion on the trip and did all she could to ensure that every moment was captured, even using her iPhone when her camera was not readily available.
She traveled to the village with a young optometrist from the VNIO who acted as her translator. Even though Lara only spent just over 24 hours with the family, she developed such a strong connection that it felt like they had been together for days. She was welcomed as though part of the family. She was inspired by how perfectly all fell into place watching this amazing family care for two wonderful girls under the watchful care of Dr. Chau.
Her film has just been selected for its sixth international film festival and we are honored to share it. Please enjoy “Little Bang’s New Eye”, narrated by Australian actress Kerry Armstrong. She captures in 14 beautiful minutes what would take almost a lifetime to share. Her film has won two IMPACT Docs awards and the IndieFilmFEST Award and we know there are dozens of more awards waiting for Ms. Damiani. Watching the world through her lens is breathtaking.
Watch the film here.