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...Some hope to see life beyond their self-made community...Others simply embrace each day as it comes.

The Mae La refugee camp, established in the mid 1980’s, is situated in the Tak Province of Thailand, near the picturesque Burmese border. The camp is home to predominantly more than 50,000 Karen people who have fled persecution from the military regime of Burma

Although free from the clutches of a military dictatorship, the area surrounding the camp is heavily guarded by Thai authorities. The refugees are trapped within the confines of barbed wire fences and access to the outside world is strictly forbidden. As a result, the refugee camp has developed into an enclosed, self-sustaining community. Resources and food are scarce and wholly dependent on aid but the refugees somehow manage to live some semblance of a life: Women weave cloth whilst children go to a make shift school and play in the water.

This dialogue-free documentary is a visual portrait of the lives of people who are dislocated, without political status and without a voice. Set to a haunting soundtrack, this film presents the everyday realities of life in the camp, from the hardships to the joyous to the unremarkable. Some of the refugees hope to see life beyond their self-made community. Others simply embrace each day as it comes. Those who are young enough do not even know of a life beyond the camp. Despite the negative circumstances, there is a prevailing sense of optimism throughout the documentary, personified by the refugees who are determined to live their lives and to strive for a better future.

Film Credits

Directors: Mark Monti

Producers: Gigi Berardi

Photography: Mark Monti

Editing: Gary Forrester

Sound: Finn Curry

Music: Amelia Cuni

Production Company: Soul Rebel Films


Orginal Title: The Camp

UK Classification: None

Subtitles: Yes

Voiceover: No

Country: , ,


Length: 10 min

Colour: Yes


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The Camp Screening:

  • Wed18May

    at The Horse Hospital

    18 May 2011 6:30 pm

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