I usually refrain from “advertising” on this blog, but a project came to my attention today that I feel, for various reasons, that I simply have to “advertise.”

A few months ago I wrote about an Irishman (Laurence Carroll) who became a Buddhist monk in Burma (U Dhammaloka) in the early twentieth century. I wrote that piece based on the scholarship of a group of scholars.

One of those scholars pointed out to me today that there is an Irish filmmaker, Ian Lawton, who is attempting to make a documentary about this man (in collaboration with the scholars who have researched about U Dhammaloka).

dhammloka dana

How, however, can someone make a documentary about someone for whom there is very little documentary evidence, and absolutely no film footage? Ian Lawton is attempting to do this by combining animation (which he wants to employ someone to create) with footage of “talking heads” (i.e., experts).

From looking at the brief footage that Ian Lawton has already filmed, it’s clear to me that this man is creative, and has ideas about how an “historical documentary” can be presented in new and engaging ways.


So I’m really happy to learn about this project, and I have made a meager contribution to assist it. I do so because I believe that film/video is the future of knowledge.

This project on U Dhammaloka is one in which a professional filmmaker is working with a professional animator and academics. That is great, and we will always need works that are the product of such collaborations.

However, we also need to find a way for academics to produce their own videos on their own. Academics absolutely must enter the world of film/video, because that is the media of the future.

In the not too distant future, I hope to launch a video version of Le Minh Khai’s SEAsian History Blog. But I also encourage everyone to spread the news about this (more professional) U Dhammaloka documentary, and to contribute financially to it, if they have the means to do so.

Erin go Bragh, and let’s work together to move academia into the (HD) 21st century.