DER Documentary

Mercy (med-dah)

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by Jeanne Hallacy and Jamlong Saiyot
color, 50 min, 2002




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Filmed over two years at a community hospice in Klong Toey, Thailand, the story unfolds as a thirteen-year-old girl, Luk Nam, recalls the loss of her family to AIDS. Mercy is an unsettling document of another side to the growing AIDS crisis – the future of the children whose parents are HIV-positive or have died from AIDS-related illnesses.

Surrounded by orphaned children who have inherited the disease, the filmmakers witness both Luk Nam’s sister and her best friend gradually fade away. Despite the horror of their circumstances, young Luk Nam and the hospice patients and workers show incredible compassion, strength, and hope. Luk Nam’s brave composure is as admirable as it is distressing, as when she assures the viewer: “Right now, I’m alive.”

Mercy is a powerful and uplifting documentary revealing the everyday life challenges faced by an increasing number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Thailand today. Coping with family loss and the accompanying stigma often places children affected by HIV/AIDS in extremely vulnerable situations. This unprecedented crisis will require scaled-up national, regional and community responses in the decades to come.” — Dr. Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director
Mercy is a realistic and powerful portrayal of the world wide effects of HIV/AIDS on children. It gives us a chance to observe this ongoing crisis first hand. I highly recommend this film for college populations and everyone who wishes to make a difference in the fight against AIDS.” — Scott Butler, MS, CPPE, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mercy is a very moving, beautiful, poignant portrayal of a few years in the life of a very stoic, heroic child under horrendous circumstances. As a physician caring for children with HIV and AIDS for the past 20 years, I felt it showed so graphically the pain and suffering of those affected by but not infected with HIV, those who are living in the shadow of AIDS. Your film was an eye-opening experience for so many in our institution, who tend to forget what family members experience, while the focus is so much on the sick child.” — Ann Petru, M.D., Associate Physician, Dept of Infectious Diseases; Director, Pediatric AIDS/HIV Program, Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland
“As one who has been involved with research in and about Thailand for over 40 years and as one who regularly teaches courses on culture and society of Southeast Asia, I found the film Mercy to be very powerful and compelling. It is clear from the film itself that the filmmaker was not only an observer, but was very much involved in the metta which the film depicts so well.” — Professor Charles Keyes, Anthropology & International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle
“This film will be as useful for classroom teaching as it will for special events related to AIDS and hospice care. It's a rare film that can do so much in such a meaningful way.” — Sara Van Fleet, Assistant Director of the SE Asia Center, University of Washington
“ Together with a group of very dedicated and exceptionally unselfish people at the Mercy Centre in Bangkok, Hallacy shows us that the human spirit is marvelous and that when we support each other it is possible to generate hope even in the darkest of times.”
— Ole Schack Hansen, Director, Asia Pacific Development Communication Centre (ADCC), Dhurakijpundit University, Bangkok, Thailand

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
New Zealand International Human Rights Film Festival, 2005
East Asia Institute of Visual Anthropology Film Festival, Yunnan University, 2004
Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival, Estonia, 2004
Fukuoka Asian Film Festival, Japan, 2004
Pride International Film Festival, Manila, 2004
2004 AIDS Film Festival, Bangkok, 2004
Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, 2004
Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 2004
Bangkok University, Thailand, 2004
Dhurakitpundit University, Thailand, 2004
Psychosocial Medicine rounds, Roosevelt Clinic, University of Washington Medical Center, 2004
XV International AIDS Conference, Bangkok, Thailand, 2004
SEAMEO-SPAFA Buddhism and HIV/AIDS, Bangkok, Thailand, 2003
Bangkok International Film Festival, 2003
"Sharing Luk Nam’s Story with Thai Communities," Mobile AIDS Awareness Tour, Thailand, 2003
4th SIMA Film Festival, Tehran, Iran, 2003
Special Jury Award, Ojai Film Festival, Oak View, California, 2003
University of California - Irvine Human Rights Film Festival, 2003
Veterans Affairs Hospital, Seattle, 2003
Durango Film Festival, Colorado, 2003
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