Owner Occupier = Songs of Hope from Around the World will demonstrate, film and record the difference between: 1) The children's innocence and the adult's conflicts. 2) Poverty against advanced technology. 3) The opposite effects of singing versus arguing. 4) The different solutions provided between adults and children.
There is a bias that this project intends to prove; which is that in these remote third world places, discarded children have knowledge which is very relevant to our way of life, that their cultures are still very alive and vibrant, that they are perfectly capable of understanding and using the latest technology, that we (being first world adults) don't need to control and polish everything, and that there is hope.
Among the people involved in telling the story are: the children, the people working at the charities, and the narrator and crew. Hopefully, there will be familiar traits established revealing the desire to help one another; the basic need for companionship, feeling important, and belonging. This ought to resonate with the audience perhaps even greater in North America and Europe than anywhere else.
Similar works are varied, as this exact project has not yet been realized. A test music CD was recorded and produced by the narrator: "Owner Occupier - Songs of Hope from Baan Unrak" (Baan Unrak House of Happiness: Thai Folk Songs CD Now For Sale) on a previous trip to Thailand. Although the quality suffers from lack of time and equipment, it is possible to get an idea of the harmonies and melodies which have the potential of becoming hit songs. The lyrics, available on the website, provide an idea of the significance that these songs must have on the people; and demonstrate a fantastic opportunity to start a dialog with the children about their personal interpretation of the message. There is also a very successful music CD recently released by Bar None Records by the Langley Schools Music Project called "Innocence and Despair" (http://www.keyofz.com/keyofz/langley). This CD is now having a very successful run throughout North America and Europe due to the same audience interest that this documentary targets, paralleling the same state of mind: Let the children have their voice, and don't try too hard to make it something that it's not.
This is in the interest of said charity (NGO) as profits from the CD (and perhaps the film) will go to assist their cause. One of the most vital factors is that the NGO have legal consent over the children; this way we can be sure that the recordings and footage rightfully belongs to us. Also, by using traditional folk songs there is the public domain quality and the often difficult task of having to obtain legal permissions can be avoided.
The overall outlook is very promising. Hopefully, the charm and innocence of the children and their folk songs will provide a rich subject matter for the backdrop of the harsh realities and political situations which they must deal with. The gentleness and kind attitudes which prevail in these charities works like a beacon of light in a dark tunnel; helping to show the way to generosity and love. Any difficulties which the crew encounters with this kind of travel; the lack of comfort, the pollution, the unpredictability and danger of getting around, the thievery, the threat of violence - can also be integrated to demonstrate what the children and the charities have to deal with on an ongoing basis. The making of the film itself is part of the story, so any possible hurdles or hindrances will only enhance the film.
This project is a win-win-win-win situation; we get to make a documentary, the children get a taste of some well deserved attention and recognition, the charity gets rewarded, and the audience gets some insight into the wonders of the people that they don't get to see on the 6 o'clock news.