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Aged 10

August 1997, in the midst of the rainy season. Vanna's destiny is overturned. While feeding the chickens, she steps on an anti-personnel landmine. She loses her right leg. The girl who dreamed of dancing thinks that she will never dance again.

Chea Chheng, her godfather, will help her find the strength to walk again. He will help her to soar.




Chea Chheng
Vanna's godfather
Aged 55

As a child he studied in a french secondary school. During the 1970's, he worked as a mechanic at the airport in Pochentong. He did maintenance on the American bombers that flew over his country. Between 1970 and 1975, he lost and wife and children in the genocide of the Khmer Rouge regime.

"We have to cultivate our garden." He says, quoting Voltaire. Interested in both French and Khmer culture, he admires the Angkorian Civilization.

When his rice crop produces an abundance of rice, he happily shares it with Vanna's family. Whenever he meets with Vanna, he recounts to her ancient khmer tales.


Eric Vander Borght
Director of The Strength of Angels
Aged 40

In 1997, Eric is on tour in Battambang for the ICRC, the International Committe of the Red Cross. He meets Vanna on the day of her accident. He wants to film her, not as a victim, but as a person. With her agreement, he decides to follow her, camera on his shoulder, for one year. Eric films her on his own, with only the assistance of a sound engineer. This approach allows him the opportunity to develop a privileged relationship with his subject. The goals that he follows are to both transmit the range of emotions involved and to permit a true encounter between the viewers and the persons being filmed.

Independent producer, his films from all parts of the world have been broadcast on ARTE, TF1, EuroNews, Sky Channel, CNN, Canal+, etc., as well as on television stations in Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, and Holland.

He produces his own films as well as working on assignments for Agencies of the United Nations and humanitarian Organizations.

He regularly travels to Cambodia to visit Vanna.


Thierry Poncet, aka Luis Thierry
Author of the novel
Aged 37

Poet, playwright, novelist and journalist.

First publication in 1979, as co-author of "PUNK", based on the artistic movement of the same name, published by Régine Desforges.
Journalist of a musical publication as well as an underground from 1979 to 1990.
First voyages in 1981. In 1983 authored a popular series of exotic adventures at Pion, where he co-produced around thirty works (Brigade Mondaine, Le Mercenaire, Le Survivant, etc.). Continued writing theatre works and songs for the underground. In 1984, at Hachette, became secretary to Cizia Zykë, by whose side he draws up 14 works which have a great success (Oro, Sahara, Fièvres, Tuan, etc.), and experience some of the best sales in France.
Produced various articles for the magazine VSD (Pearl Fishers in Indonesia, Malaysian Smugglers, Shan Warriors, etc.). Maintains a poetry page entitled "Dazibao", in the monthly publication "L'Autre Journal" in 1986-87, which ended due to his indefinite move to Asia.
In 1990 publishes "Pigalle Blues", with Ramsay publishers.
Moves to Cambodia in 1992. Following a period of service with the UN press, becomes part of the creative team of the monthly French language publication "Le Mekong", which he leaves 10 months later.
Creates the theatre "Le Magic" in Phnom Penh and devotes himself to traditional khmer theatre until 1996, at which point he abandons this project in order to write again.
In 1999 published "Le Douves d'Angkor", a novel, and "Les Pantins d'Angkor", a collection currently being printed, by the publisher Cabaret LeMonde.

He meets Eric in 1998 in Phnom Penh. Later meets Chea Chheng. Upon viewing the film, decides to adapt it into a novel.


Maria Almudevar
Author of the fairy tale
Aged 40

Author of children's stories, including a series of fantasy/fairy tales, and poetry as well as fiction and poetry for adults.
Degree in psychology obtained at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada in 1984.
Was employed in Canadian social services system working with emotionally disturbed children.
Was involved as volunteer with emotionally disturbed children and physically disabled children in Canada.
Involved in the production of trade publication in the United States in 1990 including interviews and writing of articles.
Dual nationality Canadian/Spanish living in Europe since 1994.
Works with the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland as of 1995.

Believing Vanna's story is exemplary, she adapted it to a children tale, inspired by the many stories of the Khmer oral tradition.




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