Little Gems
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    Little Gems

    Les pépites

    Directed by



    88 min

    • French
    • Khmer


    These children were working on Phnom Penh’s dumpsite 25 years ago. Today, they have finished their studies or started working. Discover the extraordinary human adventure of Marie-France and Christian des Pallières, founders of the charity Pour un Sourire d'Enfant (For a Child’s Smile), which has educated almost 10,000 children and enabled them to build a future.

    Director's Statement

    I wanted to make a film that shows that commitment comes more from emotional drive rather than from a speech.

    LITTLE GEMS is the story of a couple who are committed to saving children. It is also the story of the children being looked after by this couple.

    This is not a documentary. I simply tell a story using sensory language and each viewer needs to draw their own conclusions.

    Xavier De Lauzanne

    Xavier De Lauzanne


    It is difficult to know how much we can tell in a story. How far we can go without shocking the audience too much. Testimony can be very difficult to hear. But I choose not to avoid showing the suffering on one condition: that the entire film be a response.

    Born in the Paris region, Xavier de Lauzanne studied hospitality before setting up hotel training courses for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Martinique, Vietnam and then in Cambodia. Passionate about images, he bought his first digital camera in 1999 to shoot in Vietnam a documentary essay, HANOI ENTRE DEUX 14 JUILLET (1999) on a rickshaw during the turn of the century. It was by meeting the founders of the association Pour Un Sourire D'Enfant (PSE) in Cambodia, for which he shot a publicity film, that he first directed a feature. In 2000, he made his first documentary film RETOUR SUR LA RC4 (2000) in Vietnam on French and Vietnamese veterans of the Indochina War. In order to obtain the means to edit this film, he created with François -Hugues de Vaumas, the production company Aloest Productions. Deeply touched by the people he encountered during his travels, he officially started to make committed independent, human interest documentary films. Other documentaries of his include D’UNE SEULE VOIX (2009, Platinium Award at the WordFest-Houston IFF), ENFANTS VALISES (2013), and THE LITTLE GEMS (2016, Best Documentary at COLCOA French FF). His latest film 9 DAYS AT RAQQA (2020) was an official selection at Cannes FF and Rome FF.

    Selected Filmography