May, 2008: CBC Radio reports live on anti-government protests in Bangkok. Rebels take over the international airport for two weeks. Violence culminates in May when clashes with Thai security forces leave 80 dead and over 1800 injured. As the situation becomes increasingly volatile, a CBC reporter works diligently amidst the chaos to film a documentary.
Now that reporter works at Laurier Brantford. His name is Aaron Goodman.
Goodman has quite a history of producing documentaries as a video journalist in dangerous climates. Today he spends much of his time as a Laurier Brantford lecturer, but it wasn’t that long ago he was working in Bangkok, filming a documentary about the Buddhist Body Snatchers, a group of volunteer rescue workers who save thousands of accident victims on Bangkok’s deadly streets and highways. Goodman has worked in many other war-torn countries throughout the past decade, including Sri Lanka, Nepal, East Timor and Pakistan.
Mr. Goodman has won several awards for his work in video journalism, including the Award for Development Journalism and the Dave Rogers Award. Some of his recent work includes a documentary set in Sri Lanka about families searching for loved ones dispersed by government forces during the civil war. It’s only a small wonder then that Brantford seems so different to him.
“When I first went to the grocery store,” says Goodman, “I discovered there are so many choices in terms of fresh produce, and the aisles seemed as large as airport runways to me, compared to those in Thailand and other Asian countries.”
Despite all the violence that he’s covered, Mr. Goodman maintains a positive outlook on his work.
“I love being out in the field with my video camera or microphone – or even just a notepad and paper. That’s when I really feel alive. The rush and thrill of getting the story never seems to wane for me.”
It’s clear that there is more to his documentaries than simply covering violence, as Mr. Goodman explains.
“I live for capturing simple moments, human exchanges, unplanned or unscripted events – and by witnessing these moments and featuring them in my stories, I hope I can help show the universality of our human experiences.”