Missing in the Land of Gods

Missing in the Land of Gods



missing in the land of gods, a documentary by davor dilric

Director’s Statement

In November 2008 I started researching the topic of young Australians traveling overseas for a taste of the world with the focus on cases where this "rite of passage" had gone wrong. Before long I came across the story of the 21 year-old Ryan Chambers from Mt Gambier who went missing in India in 2005. It was one of these compelling and confronting stories, a mystery that immediately got under my skin. What did strike me in particular was the message Ryan wrote in his diary, which suggested a possibility that he deliberately cut off his ties and tried to find some spiritual meaning in the country where spirituality is the norm.   For his parents Jock and Di that message was a hopeful sign that he was still alive, and they were adamant to continue the search.

Missing in the Land of Gods - Di and Jock Chambers



Like thousands of other young people Ryan Chambers travelled to India for experience and adventure. But Ryan never returned to his home in Mount Gambier in South Australia. Inexplicably, he went missing in the holy city of Rishikesh, leaving a note in his diary that read: "If I'm gone don't worry, I'm not dead. I'm freeing minds, but first I had to free my own."

Six years on, prompted by sightings and rumours, Ryan’s parents Jock and Di return to india determined to unearth the truth. During their 
quest for their youngest son new doors seem to open that could lead to a clue to his whereabouts. With incredible patience, they plough through the hustle and bustle of India, from one potential clue to another. Astrologers, psychics, ceremonies: the couple try everything. Even a phone call offering to put them in contact with the "supreme almighty" is not dismissed.  Hanging on to their resilience they keep on searching even when the latest hopeful path turns out to be a dead-end. Gradually, their sober, Western worldview fades and the values and standards of the spiritual world take over. 

From Australia to India and back home, Missing In The Land Of Gods is an emotional road movie about hope, faith and spirit.

Having received development money from Screen Australia, I traveled to India on my own in December 2009. The focus of my trip was Rishikesh, a beautiful place set right in the Himalayan foothills, the place where Ryan disappeared from. Sneaking with my camera around the ashram where Ryan was last seen I tried to imagine how he felt when he first encountered this amazing world where beauty, chaos, poverty and spirituality all blend in one? What exactly happened here that made him leave everything behind and walk away wearing only a pair of shorts? I returned to Melbourne with some 20 hours of research footage, which editor Mark Atkin, producer Liz Burke and I cut into a dynamic trailer and which helped us to get financial support from Special Documentary Fund. In August 2011 Jock and Di boarded a plane for India determined to finally break the circle of not knowing what happened to their youngest son.  With a belief that miracle could happen, they decided to look at every corner and turn every stone. I had a privilege to witness from up close and personal how these two parents fought their way through the country where anything seemed to be possible.  Together, we traveled extensively for four weeks. Missing In The Land Of Gods is the film about their search. 

Missing in the Land of Gods - Di and jock Chambers


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