The initiators of this Documentary FILM project “They came from the east” are Sarah Braeye and Paul De Roo. For nearly three years, we have been working and living in Vietnam. We are part of a broad group consisting of Westerners, diplomats, employees of Western NGOs and humanitarian organizations, and others who work for international companies. On a day-to-day basis all these Westerners are being confronted with a world of difference, with another world, because that is what Asia is to Westerners.
Nowadays, Westerners can be found throughout the world. This, in fact, is characteristic of Western culture that, since ages, has been exploring the world departing from a fair share of ethnocentrism. However, despite the casualness of the western exploratory nature, exchanges between people, between Asians and Europeans, are not proceeding so smoothly as they are often being marked by a lot of misunderstanding. This significantly influences the possibilities and limitations to cooperation, including in the economic sphere. Resulting from these seemingly insurmountable difficulties, Western companies often hire professional social scientist to take up a bridging function. In today’s world intercultural exchange is of paramount importance. And that is exactly why we, as social researchers, decided to focus on the existing intercultural relations. We do so by making use of documentary film. We use film as a medium to unlock cultural barriers between people that are different from one another.