The Last Thing Lost

Directed by Jake Siam


Screens with:

Barney & Herb

YES! Filmmaker(s) Attending for Q&A

Fri Apr 12, 2024 – 5:00 pm | La Casa Grande
Sat Apr 13, 2024 – 7:30 pm | Downtown Beloit Association

Purchase your ticket either online or at the Box Office

The Last Thing Lost

Directed by Jake Siam
Documentary Feature
United States | 42 min | 2022

The Last Thing Lost examines the remarkable life of Sarith Ou. His narrow escape from the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 1970s took him on an improbable journey to small-town Wisconsin. Sarith remained connected to his culture, leading Cambodian communities in America, but his past still haunted him. With the help of his friend Roger, a Vietnam vet turned psychologist, Sarith returns to Cambodia with renewed purpose more than two decades after his departure. Together, Sarith and Roger bring hope to rural Cambodia, while healing their own decades-old wounds.


Winner of the People’s Choice Award
Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), 2021

The Best Feature Documentary Award
Indy Film Fest, 2022

The Cercle d’or for Best Feature Documentary Award
Sherbrooke World Film Festival, 2022

The Grand Prix Documentary Award
Rising Sun International Film Festival, 2022

The Silver Award for Best Feature Documentary
Tokyo Film Awards, 2022

The Dr. Sydney K. Shapiro Humanitarian Award
Phoenix Film Festival, 2022

The Best Editing of a Documentary Award
Madrid International Film Festival, 2022

The Excellence in Editing Award
Docs Without Borders Film Festival, 2022

The Best Editing Award
Brussels World Film Festival, 2022


“Truly a rare moment in Cinema… This film is a marvel”
Mélikah Abdelmoumen & Marc Béland, CBC Radio Canada

“An Exquisite Gem. Tenderness, wonder, & dignity…
a beautiful film about beautiful people”
Richard Propes, The Independent Critic

“Anyone who watches Dear Audrey will undoubtedly conclude
that Hayes is a masterful filmmaker”
Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight

“Touching… luminous… truly magnificent”
Caroline Levesque, CBC Radio Canada

“Dear Audrey, a riveting documentary…
that stands as a powerful paean to passion and perseverance”
Evelyn C White, The Halifax Examiner

“…so many amazing lessons, stories, emotions with pain
and celebration intertwined”
Darren Wiesner, Hollywood North Magazine

“It’s impossible to watch this documentary, (a People’s Choice Award winner), without being overwhelmed by its sweetness and generosity”
Silvia Galipeau, La Press

“…an at once ethereal reflection on the enduring power of love,
and unblinking revelation of life’s steel-cold realities”
Chris Cook, Gorilla Radio

“The central force of Dear Audrey is the eternal, almost implacable force of love that binds people together through the most difficult times”
Dorothy Woodend, The Tyee

“Dear Audrey celebrates the very best the human heart has to offer, with such compassion, artistry and grace”
Terre Nash, Oscar-winning director

“A Stunning Love Story You Won’t Soon Forget!”
Indy Film Fest

“This love story will bring you joy, hope, tears and humility…”
Dr. Jen Hammersmark, Mind Your Madness

“…a beautiful homage to Audrey, to the couple’s
love and their family”
Nantali Indongo, CBC Radio

“Beautiful, touching … ‘Dear Audrey’ is a testament to
what Audrey was and what she remains forever”
Rob Wilson, The Bobr Times

“Poignant and could not be more authentic”
Amandine de Chanteloup, Le Collectif

My unconventional Midwestern Persian upbringing was not meant to lead me into a career in filmmaking. Born and raised in small-town Indiana, my destiny as an Iranian-American was to become a doctor or a dentist. But, when an injury forced me to stop playing competitive basketball in high school, I found myself with an abundance of free time. Trying to fill the void, I picked up a camera and made my first video when I was 16-years-old for a botany class. I dressed my friend up as a tree and had him plead with my classmates to recycle. I suppose this is also when my affinity for the environment began.

Once I finished high school I felt myself at a fork in the road and unsure of how to turn my growing passion for film into a career. So, I listened to my Persian family (again), and went to college where I received my bachelors and masters from the Indiana University School of Informatics & Computing, still not convinced I would ever be able to make a profession of my passions.

Fortunately, during my studies I was able to make two doc-shorts – Little Warriors and Sonnie. Little Warriors took home the Grand Prize Indiana Spotlight Film Award from the Academy Award-qualifying Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Sonnie played and won awards from over 40 film festivals across the United States and was a recipient of the Kodak Motion Picture Film Bronze Award for Excellence in Filmmaking. While in school, I also found work as an editor and producer of Andrew Cohn’s doc-short, Destination Park, which had its world premiere at Tribeca and an online premiere via The Atlantic.

Greener Pastures, started in the spring of 2018 when I heard an NPR news story on the CDC’s report on the decline of the agricultural industry. Milk and corn/soybean prices were at their lowest and most comparable to the 1980s. But, the figure that caught my attention was the number of suicides occurring. The suicide rate for the AG industry was/is the highest among any profession in the United States and I was shocked by this. Considering that farmers are our food providers, it seems they should maintain the same level of importance as doctors, lawyers and educators.

Being a Midwesterner who grew up surrounded by farmland, I was driven to tell this story. Over the next few months I started to reach out to anyone that could help me, and by the fall of 2018, production had commenced. I have been blown away by the families that’ve been so generous in allowing me into their lives to tell this story. I’ve also been surprised to learn that despite their political differences, they’re all fearful of climate change. All they want is a solution; a better hope; a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope that in telling their stories this film can be a part of some of that light.

I may not have become a doctor or a dentist, but I’ve never been prouder to be a filmmaker. I plan to share this film with my Persian family and let them know I am still making a positive impact in this life. I want to let them know you don’t have to follow a traditional path to change the world.

The Last Thing Lost - poster

Jake Siam

Born to a daughter of Bangkok and a son of Southern Illinois, Jake’s exposure to different ways of life made him who he is today. His favorite place to be is listening to a story – whether that be next to a camera, in a cozy living room, or in a bustling bar.

Film Information

Director: Jake Siam
Country: United States
Year: 2022
Language: English,  Central Khmer
Runtime: 43 min
Rated:  R


Producer: Katy Sai
Writer: Jake Siam Solomon
Director of Photography: James Paul Escalante
Illustrations: Matt Solomon

Connect With This Film

BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival