Emergence Magazine
Online Course
Registration Open

Photo by Jeremy Seifert

Storytelling with ជាតិ Cheate and ចិត្ត Chett: Tasting the Land with an Open Heart

A Four-Part Course with Award-Winning Filmmaker Kalyanee Mam

October 8 – 29, 2024
Online Course
Registration Open

Photo by Jeremy Seifert

In the Khmer language, the word for taste is រសជាតិ rosacheate. To know the plants រុក្ខជាតិ roukkhcheate, to know nature ធម្មជាតិ thommocheate, to know your country ប្រទេស ជាតិ brates cheate, and to know your origins, you must know and feel the land through the senses. You must taste the land.

In Khmer, the heart and mind ចិត្ត chett are one. To be stricken with grief is ខូចផ្លូវចិត្ត khauch phlauv chett, meaning the road to the heart/mind has been broken. To journey out of grief is to តាម លូវចិត្ត tam phlauv chett, to follow the path to your heart—a path which begins with the taste of the land.

This four-part course with Sundance Award–winning filmmaker Kalyanee Mam invites us to reconnect cheate and chett through opening our senses to the land, and explore how this can lead to an embodied relationship with place. With a deep, heartfelt approach to storytelling, Kalyanee will draw on both her ancestral origin story and personal journey as a filmmaker working in the field for over two decades. Offering a framework for braiding land and story, she will guide participants in exploring how heart-centered narratives can both help us hold grief and bring us into deeper kinship with the more-than-human-world.

Sessions will include lectures, facilitated discussion, and personal reflections through written prompts and storytelling.


Topic Date Time
Session 1: Introduction October 8 Tuesday, 10am-12pm, Pacific
Session 2: ជាតិ Cheate: Taste October 15 Tuesday, 10am-12pm, Pacific
Session 3: ចិត្ត Chett: Opening the Heart October 22 Tuesday, 10am-12pm, Pacific
Session 4: Returning to Origins October 29 Tuesday, 10am-12pm, Pacific


Kalyanee Mam

Kalyanee Mam is an award-winning filmmaker whose work is focused on art and advocacy. Born in Battambang, Cambodia, during the Khmer Rouge regime, Kalyanee immigrated to the United States in 1981 with her family. Her debut documentary feature, A River Changes Course, won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and the Golden Gate Award for Best Feature Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Her other works include documentary shorts Lost World, Fight for Areng Valley, Between Earth & Sky and Cries of Our Ancestors. She has also worked as a cinematographer and associate producer on the 2011 Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job. She is currently working on a new feature documentary, The Fire and the Bird’s Nest.


The program is open to everyone and is available at a sliding scale of $50–$200. Scholarships are available for those who need them. Payment is due upon registration. Refunds will be given to those who cancel up to 15 days before the start of the course.

All sessions will take place via Zoom. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link a few weeks before the start of the course. Please contact events@emergencemagazine.org if you’d like to enquire about a scholarship or have any questions.

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