Five Bangkok slum children are saved from poverty, disease and abuse by art and the dedicated care of a maverick priest. Father Joe Maier moved to Klong Toey 45 years ago to help the poor and sick. He has guided thousands of children like Note, Keng and the triplets Fon, Fa and Fai from extremely difficult childhoods to content, constructive lives, often using art as a way of releasing positive energies.
The children’s pictures come to the attention of a Queensland art gallery, 4500 miles away in Australia. An exhibition is arranged which proves a commercial and critical success, underlining the vital role creativity has to play for such children. The long-term impact of the art and caring is highlighted, culminating in a collaborative artistic tribute to one of the group who finally succumbs to illness after a short but beautiful life. | Watch ‘Through the Eyes of Children’ here|
The triplets’ grandmother was on the point of selling them to pay off gambling debts when Father Joe stepped in. Two decades on they now live together independently, have been well educated and one now has her own child. For all the bleakness of the Slaughterhouse district where their childhoods began, their story is one of hope and potential fulfilled.
James Lingwood has been filming in and around Klong Toey and the Mercy Centre (where Father Joe is based) for over 10 years.
‘Through the Eyes of Children’ is also one of the first original productions from Real Stories. It has the uplifting quality which is part of what characterises this fast-growing documentary channel. It was directed by James Lingwood at Lingwood Productions, Brisbane, Australia for Little Dot Studios.