Sanya Kongdara, a native of Dallas, Texas, has faced numerous challenges throughout his life. From a young age, his insatiable curiosity often led him astray, causing mischief and trouble along the way. Despite his misadventures, Sanya’s journey of self-discovery and resilience shines through.
Throughout his elementary school years, Sanya endured relentless bullying. Discriminated against by his teacher and held back in first grade, he found solace in football, a passion that kept him away from the dangers of the streets. However, even football couldn’t shield him from the threat of gang members. When faced with his final bully, a life-altering moment occurred. Sanya’s father realized the need for proper martial arts training, and he took it upon himself to train his son in Muay Thai and self-defense.
Despite his father’s exhausting 7-day work schedule, Sanya remained dedicated to his martial arts training. Growing up introverted, he found his outlet for expression through art and dance, channeling his intrinsic bursts of energy into these creative endeavors. As he approached high school, Sanya’s football career came to an end, disappointing his town and drawing ridicule from his coaches. However, undeterred by the opinions of others, he embarked on a new journey as a gymnast, ultimately earning a cheerleading scholarship at Trinity Valley Community College, where he joined one of the most competitive coed cheer squads in Athens, Texas.
After six years of cheerleading, Sanya pursued his dream of becoming a massage therapist. For 16 years, he immersed himself in the field, gaining valuable insights into human behavior. A decade ago, tragedy struck when his father passed away, leaving behind a final wish for Sanya to write a book about his military career. At his father’s grave, Sanya made a solemn promise to continue his legacy, no matter how long it took to complete the book.
Throughout his 10-year writing journey, Sanya faced countless roadblocks. Gaslighted by his coworkers at the spa, ridiculed by the town, and lacking support from his siblings, he encountered doubt and skepticism. However, fueled by his unwavering perseverance, Sanya refused to let negativity deter him from his mission.
Driven by a desire to learn, Sanya began studying the art of independent filmmaking, aiming to incorporate his martial arts training, dance, and multifaceted skills into his creative projects. Through this, he continues to honor his father’s legacy and embodies the spirit of perseverance and resilience.
Sanya’s story is a testament to the human spirit, showcasing the power of determination and the refusal to give up. It is a heartfelt journey that inspires others to overcome obstacles, embrace their passions, and never lose sight of their dreams.
- Year Film Title Description
- Script THE PROMISE LAND & PROMISED LOVE Based on the True Story of the Life of Mark Kongdara. In a war-torn country, Mark Kongdara's story of redemption and love - unfolds. Abandoned as a teenager, Mark is thrust into the brutal Laos army, where he becomes not only a soldier; however, a trained killer, Haunted by his past, and his distorted understanding of manhood versus fatherhood. Mark's life is consumed by violence, lust, anger and fleeting encounters. As the Vietnam War erupts, Mark becomes entangled in the Secret War between Laos and America. Amidst relentless bombings, he finds himself abandoned, - imprisoned in Vietnam, after he was left behind by his own unit. Against all odds, Mark escapes - embarks on a dangerous journey back to his homeland, Laos. In Laos, Mark discovers a group of women playing basketball, and his gaze is drawn to number nine, Vane. In an instant, his perception of manhood shatters, replaced by an overwhelming love. Mark spends days captivated by Vane's grace on the court, but her reserved nature keeps him at a distance. When Vane and her family become refugees, fleeing to Thailand, Mark's unwavering devotion compels him to follow. In the Lao refugee camp - Ubon in Thailand, Mark befriends Vane's cousin, inch by inch building a connection to Vane's heart. Their bond deepens, and Mark's love for Vane becomes unbreakable. Unfortunately, Vane's opportunity to seek a better life in America complicates their path. Torn between love and the promise of a brighter future, she rejects Mark's proposal. Both agreed, made a solid promise, if Mark makes it to the USA, they'll do whatever it takes to find each other in the United States and Vane will marry Mark. Undeterred, Mark resolves to find his way to America, determined to fulfill their promise. However survival proves to be a grueling challenge. From concentration camps to relentless persecution, Mark's resilience is tested at every turn. Will he overcome the obstacles that stand between him and his love? Can Mark rise above his scars, trauma, and become the man Vane deserves? As Mark's journey reaches its upmost climax, a sinister twist, threatens to shatter his dreams and tear him away from the love of his life. With his heart pounding, Mark finds himself cornered by Thai soldiers,- their guns ominously aimed at his head. The weight of the world bears down on Mark, as his every breath hangs in the balance. Meanwhile, across the vast ocean, Vane anxiously waits, at the bustling Dallas, Texas airport. Unaware of the imminent danger and that looms over Mark. Vane's heart races with anticipation, her eyes scanning the crowd for any sign of Mark. However - just as hope begins to flicker, gunshots pierce the air. Time seems to stand still as chaos erupts, panic spreading like wildfire. Will Mark fulfill his promise, and make it to the promised land, where they can finally be together? Or will he become another innocent victim, lost in the violent clutches of war? In this tale of love and perseverance, Mark's journey transcends borders, and war expectations. Gripping and compelling, it explores the depths of human resilience, the transformative power of love, and the unshakable spirit that emerges from the darkest circumstances. Especially - in the face of adversity. Prepare to be captivated by this epic - based on a true story, as it unfolds against a backdrop of war, hope, and the unbreakable bonds of the human heart.
- Year Film Title Award(s)