Lost Child

Sayon's Journey



Boston Asian American Film FestivalNJ Film Festival


This program’s website www.lostchildthefilm.org was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in Lost Child: Sayon’s Journey do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.


This film shows how one Khmer Rouge child soldier confronts his childhood experiences during Cambodia’s darkest hour, what he witnessed, and struggled with as he came of age.

Sayon Soeun was abducted at the age of six, exploited by the Khmer Rouge, his family life and education stolen. His recovery and redemption from unimaginable evil entails his transition from an orphanage in a refugee camp to adoption by a loving American family. After more than 35 years, he recently made contact with brothers and a sister he assumed were dead. The documentary follows his journey to heal himself by forgiving the family that let him slip away and forgiving himself for his complicity as a Khmer Rouge child soldier.

Sayon's Memories


«I wanted to cry, I wanted to throw up, but I couldn’t. I would be killed if I showed any emotions.»

«I remember seeing 30-40 kids on a military truck and thought it wouldn’t hurt to ride along... I ended up at a place with lots of children.»

«Every morning they gave me an American made M-16 or a Chinese made AK-47...»

«During the second half of the day, we took guns apart and put them back together. In no time, I was an expert at it...»

«...rows and rows of shackled people were left under the 120 degree sun to die... Execution was a better choice because death came quicker.»