In Alumni News, Faculty News

A student-produced documentary will be featured at this year’s LDS Film Festival in Orem, Utah.

“Guarding the Bamboo Forest,” the story of two Cambodian LDS women running an orphanage for abandoned children, was produced by BYU Communications student Whitney Thomas and Robert Walz, Associate Teaching Professor in the Journalism emphasis.  The film will be shown in a Special Screening on Friday, February 7 at 2:00 PM in the SCERA Xango Grand Theatre at SCERA Center for the Arts.

Walz says the story, which was discovered by Thomas while on her honeymoon in Cambodia, intrigued him because of its inspiring yet little-known subject matter.

“I chose to work on this project with Whitney because it is an amazing story of spiritual growth in difficult times.  It explores a topic – the Cambodian genocide – that many people don’t know much about,” said Walz.

While visiting Cambodia with her husband in April of 2012, Thomas says she fell in love with the people and culture there and became determined to find a reason to return.  On her last day there, a former missionary shared with her the story of the orphanage and she knew she had to learn more.

“I couldn’t stop thinking about this story when I got home, and decided to do more research, which led me to their incredible story that was so much more than what had been first shared with us,” said Thomas.  “My faith in God was strengthened as well as my knowledge that God loves all of his children so much.”

The project took almost two years to complete from start to finish and was a collaborative effort between Thomas, Walz, and Broadcast Lab Production Manager Dale Green, who did the photography and final editing on the film.

The LDS Film Festival, now in its 13th year, is an annual event presenting a diverse spectrum of LDS-made feature, short, and even “homemade” family films.  The 2014 festival runs February 5-8.  For more information on the screening of “Guarding the Bamboo Forest” and all other scheduled events, click here to visit the festival’s official website.

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