What do Thais think when they see “The Impossible”? We asked several Thai community development professionals, some of whom were involved in tsunami relief. After seeing this powerful film we captured their views on culture, disaster preparedness, traditional Thai knowledge, and storytelling and memory.
Uncut comments from the director of “The Impossible” from our December 17, 2012, interview.
A story and memorial from the Mayor of Galle on the 8th anniversary of the tsunami.
Mayra and I were in the home stretch of our 2-week research trip, hoping to get a government official to tell us how Galle, the 4th largest city in Sri Lanka, has recovered. We were lucky to get an evening interview with the Mayor.
We only got to one question: “What was your experience the day of the tsunami?”
The Mayor — a politician in front of a camera… — proceeded to hold forth for over 60 minutes. In the political opposition at the time, he shared how he conveyed his family to safety and, without telling them, returned to Sambodhi House, an orphanage for the disabled. He was greeted by “dead bodies everywhere” -– 48 of 62 residents died -– and he delivered children to the morgue in a fire truck. Unlike other local politicians, he helped out througout the day. People said he saved lives. We got the full replay, and I was rebuked at one point for trying to hurry him along.
And then he started to cry.
To weep, recalling how the children had called him “father,” for his role as Board Secretary. Such grief, and also guilt, it turns out, almost 8 years later.
As the new Secretary, he had asked a priest to spend holy days discussing the Buddhist precepts with the children. Just the second such sermon was on December 26. The children were assembled on the front porch when the tidal wave raged ashore.
He feels impossibly responsible. And then, with terrible wonder, our last hour made sense.
Of course he had to tell this story in full; had to relive each moment, in his own time, in his own way.
It’s not a surprise that it surfaced for a foreign camera crew with a question that may never have been asked. Had he shared his pain with anyone else? Was he even aware of it?
On the 8th anniversary we thank the Mayor of Galle and Sambodhi House.
We recall lessons in humility and respect when listening to others.
We remember lives lost, and emotional scars that remain harsh, if submerged.
We remind ourselves to value every day.
And we ask everyone to care again for a disaster-hit community dear to you, get involved, and give again.
-Mike & Mayra
Our movie review of The Impossible, opening Friday, thanks to Stanford Social Innovation Review!
A merry, peaceful and restful holiday to all! And gratitude to everyone working to make every day ahead a better one for others. Thank you Careem and Vinya of Sarvodaya, and so many others.
Tsunami Plus 10 At The Impossible Movie Premiere in Los Angeles; Naomi Watts Nominated for Golden Globe for Best Actress
The Tsunami Plus 10 team, Mike and Mayra, had the pleasure of being invited and attending the movie premiere for The Impossible, the movie about one family’s story of survival during the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Despite cancelled flights and one minor bribery attempt by Mayra to bump a fellow passenger off a flight to ensure herself a seat, Mike and Mayra made it in time to catch the excitement of this important film’s premiere.
Kudos all around to the cast and crew of this heartwrenching, inspiring and not to be missed film and especially to Naomi Watts for her Golden Globe nomination this morning for Best Actress. She gives a tour de force performance of an injured mother’s compassion, strength and resilience in the aftermath of the tsunami.
The movie premieres in the US on Friday, December 21st. Tsunami Plus 10 has put together a guide, Beyond The Impossible, that provides for even greater context on the events of that fateful day and how you can still help the survivors of this and other natural disasters.
But for now, let’s go behind the scenes for the premiere of The Impossible featuring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor (who sadly Mayra did NOT get a photo with). Facebook album and comments are here.
For those interested in the science of the 2004 tsunami, a great NOVA documentary: Wave That Shook The World. (by documan2421)
December is here and the month that features the release of a major movie set in Thailand during the tsunami, not to mention the Dec. 26 8th anniversary, will start with a bang — 2 seats at the Los Angeles premiere of THE IMPOSSIBLE on Monday!
Many thanks to Lions Gate and Summit Entertainment for the invitation.
Mayra and I can’t wait to see the movie and to bring a philanthropic lens, as well as our recent research in Sri Lanka, to our review.
Our Viewer’s Companion to the movie is almost done and our mini-documentary, “To Sandy From Sri Lanka,” is halfway there. Both have been incredible for crystallizing our experience and messages.
There is a lot to say about the tsunami, its legacy, and disaster giving. We’re grateful for the movie for raising awareness and creating opportunities for discussion.
More soon, from LA!
Just one of my favorite images from our remarkable trip back to Sri Lanka — from the Burgher community’s tsunami memorial in Batticaloa. (photo by Mayra)
We’ve been busy on at least two fronts: (1) a Viewer’s Companion to “The Impossible” movie coming out 12/21 in the US, and (2) a mini-documentary on our trip!
Happy Thanksgiving, and our thoughts and hearts are in Sri Lanka, those in need, and especially with Sandy victims.
One disaster to hopefully benefit another, through film. Wish we could be there!