The troubling case of the grossly disfiguring acid attack on Cambodian karaoke star Tat Marina receives emotional and artful treatment in a pic filled with an acute sense of injustice beyond the usual document of human-rights violations.

The troubling case of the grossly disfiguring acid attack on Cambodian karaoke star Tat Marina receives emotional and artful treatment in filmmaking team Skye Fitzgerald and Patti Duncan’s “Finding Face.” Inexplicably overlooked by major doc-leaning festivals, pic deserves considerable exposure for the impact of its story and an acute sense of injustice that goes beyond the usual document of human-rights violations. Pic has been floundering in minor fests, but wider broadcast on tube seems likely.

In 1999, 14-year-old Marina was stalked by Cambodia’s Undersecretary of State Svay Sitha, who lied to her about his true identity. When the truth emerged, Marina was kidnapped (according to sister Srey Pou) by Sitha, whose enraged wife, Khoun Sophal, arranged an acid attack on the girl. Docu tracks her recovery and surgeries in the U.S. and her brother Sequndo’s efforts to seek justice, but the David-vs.-Goliath nature of the case has ensured that no arrests have occurred a decade since. Pic’s level of outrage over an international wave of acid attacks is hard to overstate.

Finding Face

Production

A Spin Film presentation. Produced by Skye Fitzgerald, Patti Duncan. Directed by Skye Fitzgerald, Patti Duncan. Written by Duncan.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Fitzgerald; editor, Patrick Weishampel; music, William Campbell, Dengue Fever, Marketa Irglova. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, June 2, 2011. (In Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, San Francisco Documentary Festival.) Running time: 67 MIN.

With

Tat Marina, Sequndo Tat, Srey Pou, Mu Sochua, Jason Barber, Mary Jo Baryza, Christy Kiernan, Daniel Driscoll, Chour Sreya. (English, Cambodian dialogue)
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