Fire Fire Desire

A love Odyssey in Southeast Asia

The Swiss filmmaker Steff wants to find the love of his youth Malee, a girl he fell in love with about 25 years ago in Thailand. 
This is the start of an eventful search which takes him right across Southeast Asia. 
On his journey the filmmaker meets various western men which have settled in Asia. One of these expats recognises his ex-girlfriend Malee from a photograph. He thinks he saw her repeatedly, years ago, in the company of a certain American. So the focus of his investigations is transferred to searching for this man, who goes by the name of Roman Guy. He finds out that Guy came to Asia long ago and well-known in the expats scene for the making of his controversial films. But since an accident, in which a girl died, he seems to have disappeared from view. 
The filmmaker follows this obscure trail, which takes him to the north of Cambodia. Here, in difficult circumstances, he finally succeeds in tracking down Roman Guy.

2019
Personal Film
DCP, 16:9
120 min. colour
Shooting periodes: 2009 – 2014
Location: Cambodia, Thailand
Original version: English

Director / Producer: Steff Gruber
Based on a original story by Steff Gruber
Photography: Steff Gruber
Editor: Diana Bärmann
Music: Sorn Solinka, Jane Saijai, Dengue Fever, Kaotip Tidadin
Production: KINO.NET AG, Switzerland
Line Producer: Christopher Jarvis
Executive Producer (Thailand): René Appenzeller
Associate Executive Producer (Thailand): Ekchana Nonpala

Swiss filmmaker Steff Gruber finds a video guide for sex tourists on the internet. He believes he recognizes his Thai ex-girlfriend Malee in the video and finds himself obsessed with wondering what became of her. Finally, after 25 years, he travels back to Southeast Asia to look for Malee. 
This is the beginning of an eventful journey that takes the filmmaker all across Southeast Asia. In his travels, he meets several so-called expats – western emigrants, looking to try their luck in Southeast Asia.
One of these expats recognizes Malee in a photograph, and also remembers her boyfriend as well, the supposed creator of the sex travel video who goes by the name of Roman Guy. Now the search for Malee shifts to a search for Roman Guy.
The filmmaker learns that Roman Guy was very well known in the expats scene at that time, and notorious as well, for his alleged contacts with the CIA. However, he seems to have disappeared over a decade ago. Meanwhile, old footage that was recorded with a hidden camera in Cambodia in the 90s surfaces. A friend plays the footage for Gruber. It show countless prostitutes and their external circumstances from the time when the UN peace corps of the UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia) were stationed in the country.
In one of the videos the filmmaker finds a further clue to the sought-after Malee.

Gruber’s film weaves together the different destinies of Asian girls and aging emigrants along with the historical video footage to produce a remarkably complex tapestry of the culturally changing Southeast Asia.
The odyssey, which borrows its structure from Joseph Conrad’s „Heart of Darkness“, ends in the border triangle of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Where the Ho Chi Minh trail once ended, Roman Guy resides in a jungle brothel completely isolated from the modern world. The film ends in an analogy of a Conrad sentence: „Do me a favor: tell them all I’ve done, everything that you’ve seen. Because if there is one thing I hate, it is the stench of lies.“

Shot on location 2009 – 2014 
in the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand

Produced by
CHRISTOPHER JARVIS

Written and directed by
STEFF GRUBER

Edited by
DIANA BÄRMANN

Photographed, Produced and Directed by
STEFF GRUBER

Cast in Order of Appearance
HERMES LIBERTY
AWITA JASMINE RUEANGCHAN
NATACHA ORACHA
ULI STRENGERT
OSCAR SANCHEZ
DONALD SPILKER
JESSICA TERAKUPT
RUSSELL LEIB
VANN KONG KIA
MARC NARIN
DAN KIZER
NOREYA ESKA
DONALD WILLIAM MCDONALD
JOE BRYAN BAKER
LAKHENA NIL
PHILLIP BOYLE
NGUYEN THI HUE
JAMES KELLY
DAVID NEWBOULT
FRANK MCGONIGAL
LARRY HAMMELL
SOKHA HENG
DIETER BALKE
GEOFFREY GIULIANO

Kia’s House:
NHIM HA
MAN YEN
TE KHEAM
CHANG TI
UM TAHN
PRUM DA
CHOM
YANG RATANA
NIAN SOKHA

The Fire Jumpers:
RATCHADAPRON TIPLUY
SANUN PRONSOPIN
MINMUNTA PISANAN-ANWANIT
SAITAN KATA
NISAKORN NINLAWAT
WARALUK COTURAPHUN
NANTAPAK THANAWORRAKAN
NUTTAMON WANNACHOO
NIRACHAPON PONGPAP
KANLAYANAKORN LAKKAM
KANLAYAWAN PHOUGPHONG
ATIKARN MALAICHU
SUTHISA LUENGCHAPOENLAP
PICHAYA WITTAYAKORN
ARUNI INTALOHIT
WATCHANEE MADTONGMAI
AIMMIKA SETONGKUL
TEERANAT JARUPORNHIRUN
MANANCHAYA SUDJAJDEE

The Jungle Girls:
KARIN WIPAPORN
PHANNY SONGVAN
JASMINE HENG
SREY LEM SOK
HUON CHAN
SENG SOKHAN
THEA HONG
HAENG CHAN
NYTA SOPHORN SOS

Sunflower Bar Girls:
SOPHEA CHUM
SREY NA KHUN

Sokha Hen’s House:
OUNG SREYLIN
JASMINE HENG
JULIE HENG
SREY TEANG OUNG

Flynn’s Bar:
SRENG SOMALEE
SENG ANNETTE
SAN SOTHEAVY
POL MANG

Jasmine’s Street Bar:
JUNE SUDA VIANWAT

Additional Cast:
VIZA SAMNANG
AORAPIN JIWKORAT
ANUSORN ONPETH
LIA O’REILLY CAPTAIN SAM

Narration:
CONNIE ROSE ERNI

Editing Creative Advisors:
ANKE FELGENHAUER GRUBER
JÜRG HASSLER
PAUL HOYNINGEN-HUENE

Crew Thailand:
Line Producer CHRISTOPHER JARVIS
Casting NOIY PASIRI PANA / CHRISTOPHER JARVIS
Executive Producer RENE APPENZELLER
Assistant Producer MANWE DARCY
Executive Co-Producer EKCHANA NONPALA
Still Photography LOUIS DEL AMO
Hole Position Videographer CHRISTOPHER JARVIS
Costumes NORAWAT WANDEE
Makeup DUANGJAI BORISUT
Hairstylist PIYA TIMJAPO, AMRICA CHAIYASIDDHI
Electrician SAMAI WONGSAWAT, SADSAWAT LAMPAK, PONGKAN PIPAT
Pyrotechnic ANACHIT BOODAMA, BANCHA BOODAMA, SUMRAN KANJANAKET, SORAVIT CHANGKAV, CHAIYAPOOM SOMSAK
Catering SOMPONG THAIPASONG, AUTHAI TANGSAM, PLEARNSIRI LIMVANICH
Travelling TAWAN KRUDKARB
Translator PICHIT PHROMKADE, CHAN PENH, KATTIYA (MOO) SIRIBOONYA

Casting Studios:
CRAFT STUDIO, BANGKOK, THAILAND
CHOCOLATE STUDIO, BANGKOK, THAILAND

Locations Thailand:
STATE RAILWAY OF THAILAND
AORAPIN’S DRINKSHOP, PRACHUAP KIRI KHAN
SAILOM HOTEL, HUA HIN
HUA HIN AIRPORT, HUA HIN
FARM HOUSE, SOPHA NIMTUAN
RESID. HOME T. PHIMPA, A. BANG PRAKONG
CLOUD 47, BANGKOK

Accommodation Thailand:
TRIPLE TWO SILOM HOTEL, BANGKOK
TOWN IN TOWN HOTEL, BANGKOK
SC PARK HOTEL, BANGKOK
GRACE HOTEL, BANGKOK
SAILOM HOTEL, HUA HIN
MIAMI HOTEL, BANGKOK

Drivers Thailand:
KHUN HARN, BANGKOK
SURIN SAROWAT, BANGKOK
VEENAI AMIEM, BANGKOK
SUWAN KAEWAMORN, BANGKOK
ANAPAN KUMMEE, BANGKOK
VISANU YEAMMUBOL, BANGKOK
THANAWARO SURACHET, BANGKOK
CHAILEE JITRAPONG, BANGKOK

Crew Cambodia:
Line Producer CHRISTOPHER JARVIS
Casting CHRISTOPHER JARVIS
Assistant Executive Producer JOE BAKER
Assistant to Mr. Giuliano WIPAPORN SAZA
Still Photography CHRISTOPHER JARVIS
Additional Still Photography DARREN ROBINS
Electrician SHAWN PREST
Catering FATIMA YOUSIF
Security MICHAEL CHELARU

Translators / Assistants, Cambodia:
THIDA SITHANEN
PHANNY SONGVAN
WISUN PRATEEPAMONSUK

Locations Cambodia:
SIMON’S GUESTHOUSE, PHNOM PENH
HENG KHEANG’S FLOATING HOUSE, PHNOM PENH
SHOOTING RANGE ROYAL ARMED FORCES, PHNOM PENH
CAMBODIA WEIGHTLIFTING FEDERATION, PHNOM PENH
BOPHA, RESTAURANT & TITANIC LOUNGE, PHNOM PENH
CHOEUNG EK GENOCIDAL CENTER ‚THE KILLING FIELDS‘, PHNOM PENH
S21, TUOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM, PHNOM PENH
RIVERSIDE BISTRO, RIVER SIDE, PHNOM PENH
LAST HOME GUEST HOUSE, PHNOM PENH
HARDROCK CAFÉ MAGIC SPONGE, PHNOM PENH
LE BON CAFÉ, GOLDEN SORYA MALL, PHNOM PENH
MAKARA RESTAURANT, KIEN SVAY MEKONG VILLAGE
SUNFLOWER BAR, VICTORY HILL, SIHANOUKVILLE
BLUE MOUNTAIN RESIDENCE, SIHANOUKVILLE
FLYNN’S BAR, VICTORY HILL, SIHANOUKVILLE
SREY LIRIS HOUSE, SIHANOUKVILLE
SINANG DARA’S SHACK OCHHEUTEAL BEACH, SIHANOUKVILLE
THE ESTUARY, SHAWN PREST, SIHANOUKVILLE PROVINCE
FARMHOUSE, DOO CHANTHARS, SOM AH
TASOM AK VILLAGE, PHEARY MENCHEY COMMUNE
TOAM MEANG KUL PAGODA, KOMPONG SPEU
KAMPONG LUONG FLOATING VILLAGE
CHINESE JEEP, XENIYA BELIAEVA, SIHANOUKVILLE

Accommodation Cambodia:
IMPERIAL GARDEN VILLA & HOTEL, PHNOM PENH
GUEST HOUSE 59, KOMPONG LUONG, PURSAT
HONG PHANN GUEST HOUSE, PHNOM PENH
RIKITAVI GUESTHOUSE, KAMPOT
OKATA GUESTHOUSE, SIHANOUKVILLE
GOLDEN SEA HOTEL & CASINO, SIHANOUKVILLE

Drivers Cambodia:
BOREN TAXI, PHNOM PENH
KHOUN VANNA, PHNOM PENH
PHOEUN NEANG, PHNOM PENH
KANLAK TRY, PHNOM PENH
NIN SAKOVEY, PHNOM PENH
THOUNG BUNTHY, TAXI ASSOC. OF PHNOM PENH
POV SETH, PHNOM PENH / SIHANOUK VILLE
LA SAMNANG, PHNOM PENH
BUON HAUMOK, PHNOM PENH
SIN BUNLY, PHNOM PENH
VIREAK IYA, PHNOM PENH

Tuk-Tuk Drivers Cambodia:
KEO VUTHY, PHNOM PENH
TOUK TOUK SERVICE MR. MICHEL, PHNOM PENH
KEM DARA, PHNOM PENH
POV SETH, PHNOM PENH
KHOUN VANNA, PHNOM PENH
CHALEE JITRAPUNG, SAMUT PRAKAN
KANLAK TRY, PHNOM PENH
Boat and Ship Charters Cambodia:
BOPHA ANGKOR TOUR BOAT, PHNOM PENH
STATE FERRY-CROSSING, MEKONG, PHNOM PENH
SOKPAL POLI, MEKONG RIVER BOAT CAPTAIN
BOATMAN SUOR CHANTHA, KAMPONG LUONG
BART KENNIS, BOATMAN, KAMPOT
K. WANG, BOATMAN, KAMPOT

Transportation:
THAI AIRWAYS
BANGKOK AIRWAYS
CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR
AIR ASIA

Postproduction:
Image & Sound Editor DIANA BÄRMANN
Re-recording Mixer JÜRG VON ALLMEN C.A.S.
Sound Editor MARTIN STÄHELI
Sound Studio DIGITON GMBH, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
Digital Special Effects BERND GÜSSBACHER
Color Grading DIANA BÄRMANN / STEFF GRUBER
DCP ATL VIDEOFACTORY, URDORF, SWITZERLAND
German Subtitles CINETYP, RENÉ ERNI, LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND
Translations / Spotting ANITA BRECHBÜHL / DIANA BÄRMANN
Translations ITS SERVICES, HAMBURG, GERMANY / MUNDO TRADUCIDO, WERDER/HAVEL, GERMANY
Title and Grafic Design ANKE FELGENHAUER GRUBER
Digital Postproduction KINO.NET, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
Edited with GRASS VALLEY SOFT- AND HARDWARE

Equipment:
KINO.NET AG, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
SCHWEIZER VIDEO, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
PETER SCHMID, MEDIA-LINC, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
RENE APPENZELLER, BANGKOK, THAILAND
ANDREAS NEBELING, BANGKOK, THAILAND
GREENLIGHT FILMS, BANGKOK, THAILAND
LOM OR THMEI CAMERA SHOP, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
RAINFIRE.ASIA INC.

Technical Advisors
Sound Super Visor DIETER MEIER, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
Camera Equipment Super Visor PATRICK LINDENMAIER, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

Accountant CLAUDINE HANGARTNER
Studio Technician TONY LENHERR
Internet CYRILLE KAZIS

Specials Thanks to my Family
ANKE FELGENHAUER GRUBER
LEO GRUBER
REMO GRUBER
and
JÜRG HASSLER, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
BEAT PRESSER, BALE, SWITZERLAND
CYRILLE KAZIS, BALE, SWITZERLAND
YEL KOCH, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
BENI MÜLLER, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
RENÉ GROSSENBACHER, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
PAUL HOYNINGEN-HUENE, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
JUM PIMSAR, BURIRAM, THAILAND
SHRIMP – PATRICK GAUVAIN, BANGKOK, THAILAND
NOIY PASIRI PANA, BANGKOK, THAILAND
CHARLES WRIGHTMAN, BANGKOK, THAILAND
NATTAYA ORACHA, BANGKOK, THAILAND
RALF ALABOR, SIHANOUKVILLE, CAMBODIA

Thanks to
STATE RAILWAY AUTHORITY OF THAILAND
AIRPORT AUTHORITIES, HUA HIN, THAILAND
ANDREW FIFE, CHANG MAI, THAILAND
BART KENNIS, KAMPOT, THAILAND
FRANCOIS BIZOT, CHANG MAI, THAILAND
FRANCOIS PONCHAUD, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
VIREAK PHEAP, POIPET, THAILAND
BOONCHAI SIRIPATTANASARAKIT, CLOUD 47, BANGKOK, THAILAND
UKUCAFÉ, BANGKOK, THAILAND
HEINZ MEIER, PHUKET, THAILAND
LEKHA SHANKAR, BANGKOK, THAILAND
CLAIRE SHAVE, ESTUARY, OTRES BEACH, CAMBODIA
PISETH, MS TRAVEL AND TOUR, CAMBODIA
IN MEAN, MANICH ENTERPRISES, CAMBODIA
MATHIAS CASSAR, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
IMPERIAL GARDEN VILLA & HOTEL, CAMBODIA
HARALD PETER HIMMELREICH, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
CHHOEUN LIMHOUN, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
NICO MESTERHARM, META HOUSE, CAMBODIA
LYDIA PARUSOL, META HOUSE, CAMBODIA
MARK ELLISON, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
TIM FRANCIS, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
MITKO IVANOV, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
SAKIT, LAST HOME GUEST HOUSE, CAMBODIA
THE LAZY GEKO RESTAURANT, CAMBODIA
PAT, ‚LE BON CAFÉ‘, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
RAMA OF CAMBODIAN WEIGHTLIFTING FEDERATION
ROSS DUNSTAN, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
NANA RESTAURANT, SIHANOUKVILLE, CAMBODIA
KEITH ROTHERAM, SIHANOUKVILLE, CAMBODIA
CHENG CHANTHY, SIHANOUKVILLE, CAMBODIA
RIKITAVI GUESTHOUSE, KAMPOT, CAMBODIA
BEAU STEPHENSON, PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, USA
BUNTHAN EANG, LOS ANGELES, USA
FREDDY KENEL, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
ERICH LANGJAHR, ROOT, SWITZERLAND
SILVIA HASELBECK, ROOT, SWITZERLAND
URS ODERMATT, WINDISCH, SWITZERLAND
JASMIN MORGAN, WINDISCH, SWITZERLAND
TIDI VON TIEDEMANN, MAINZ, GERMANY
SEBASTIAN DEINHART, MAINZ, GERMANY
WOLF-TASSILO SACK, MAINZ, GERMANY
DANIEL SEIDENEDER, MAINZ, GERMANY

Multimedia Copyright Clearance STEFF GRUBER
Drawings Courtesy of NGUYEN THI HUE
‚Found Footage‘ Roman Guy’s Tapes PHILLIP BOYLE (C) KINO.NET
Sex-Travel Video HERMES LIBERTY, EROS ADVENTURE, (C) KINO.NET
Additional Stock Footage
VIDEOHIVE.NET / EVATO.COM / ISTOCK.COM
Sound FX POND5.COM
Additional Music CYRIL BARANOV, ECLIPSE FILM, POND5.COM

‚OUN PUK DARMBEY BONG (YOU MAKE ME DRINK)‘
Performed by SORN SOLINKA
Composed by SOUN PISETH
Lyrics by MEAS BOPEA, VCD ALBUM 103
Courtesy of ROCK PRODUCTION, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

‚WE ARE KHMER‘
Performed by JANE SAIJAI
Courtesy of CVM PRODUCTIONS, SURIN, THAILAND

‚O.K. BOR AJ‘
Performed by KAOTIP TIDADIN
Courtesy of GMM GRAMMY, BANGKOK, THAILAND

‚INTEGRATION‘
Performed by DENGUE FEVER
Written by HOLTZMAN, HOLTZMAN, HOLTZMAN, RALICKE, SMITH, WILLIAMS
Published by TROLL UNDER THE BRIDGE, CHHOM CHIMNEY, ONE ARMED CRAB PUBLISHING, NOONKEY MUSIC, FOOLISH MORTAL PUBLISHING, SWOP MUSIC
Administered for the World by ANNIE REED MUSIC LTD.
EXCEPT ELLIPSIS MUSIC CORP. (ASCAP) and
PENTAGON LIPSERVICES (ARML – SP ACCT) (BMI) FOR USA
Taken from the Dengue Fever Album ‚VENUS ON EARTH‘
Courtesy of TUK TUK RECORDS

Produced by
KINO.NET AG
In Association with
ALIVE MEDIA AG, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
MEDIA.CH AG, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
RAINFIRE ASIA INC., PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
DROPOUT FILMS GMBH, MAINZ, GERMANY

Additional Information
WWW.FIREFIREDESIRE.COM
WWW.KINO.NET

(C) 2015 COPYRIGHT BY KINO.NET AG. ZURICH SWITZERLAND. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ISAN 0000-0003-D088-0000-1-0000-0000-Y

CH 2017
Personal Film
DCP, 16:9
125 min., colour / b&w

Languages: English
Subtitles: German