I have been in contact with individuals and NGOs of the Akha people since 1993, and have collaborated in with them on video workshops and Akha web-sites. This project and its choice of media has evolved out of this dialogue, and an invitation by the organisers to attend the conference.
The project was conceived as a hybrid documentary film -radio- Internet production.
More often than not, documentary filmmakers attempt to minimise the influence of their presence. This project, however, is driven by the idea that the dynamics of media are not only able to capture a story but also create a situation from which the people to be documented will continue to profit: the documentary introduces the internet as temporary and effective solution to provide an affordable audio link for a people divided by international borders. The creation of the 'internet radio station' in this cultural setting will also allow the Akha to explore the appropriateness of this technology, as an affordable and legal alternative to the problems they face in relying on their oral culture in the face of an ever more embracing global culture.
You can listen to these radio programmes in Akha language >>here.
This film serves as introductory documentary to the subject matter, and hopefully eliciting a reaction from the audience. However the starting point of this film is the establishment of 'online facilities' as a means of communication for the Akha people. A film always has an end while reality continues. Here the end leads to the 'online interface', and the audience will be able to participate in the continuation of 'the story' by using the Internet and getting involved. The literal translation of this idea - as database-driven streaming video application - could not be realized due to limited funds. However, much additional information is accessible online, and manu of the featured peronalities can be contacted through the Akha -run website hani-akha.org.
At completion of the film, I had the chance to bring it back to Northern Thailand. I attended some of the screenings and was more than curious to find out about the opinions and reactions of the Akha people....>>>