A transfer to a new place, a new school to attend, new classmates and the strain of forming new friendships are always taxing on one’s emotions. When Samong shifts to Thailand from Myanmar as an exchange student, he is tossed head-on into a scene where he has to build relationships with his new classmates and make few friends. But, with each passing day, he finds himself more and more distanced from his classmates. His efforts to win them over are defeated, when he discovers that his classmates stand united in their hate for him. He is unable to understand the cause of their animosity, and whether it is his ethnicity that makes him the pariah amongst his classmates.
‘White Paper’ is a student film from Director Panya Zha. In this touching short, Panya takes us back to our first day in a new school. He brings out the thick tension in the air while meeting the new school management, teachers and students. The awkward moments of the first conversations with new classmates and the new boy’s desperate moves to win the approval of his classmates are all captured here, nuanced with the intense emotions that charge these situations.
‘White Paper’ does not stop at just addressing the rampant bullying that students often face at school. While making a strong case for the victim, the film explores how the authorities entrusted with protecting the victims often end up exploiting them at their most vulnerable moments. In their rush to make good impressions and defend their social standings, they do not often realize how they are as much guilty as are those who get physical with their victims. The film is an eye-opener to the various silent forms of bullying, and how the victims are often sucked in, unaware.