FilmAid hands Asia's refugees the power to tell their own stories through cinema

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 September, 2011, 12:00am


Moet and a movie were the order of the day at charity FilmAid Asia's inaugural Hong Kong screening party at Kee Club on Wednesday evening. The chapter joins the FilmAid International family in its efforts to bring hope, entertainment and information to refugees and displaced people around the world through the magic of cinema.

Global executive director Liz Manne flew in from New York to celebrate the Asian chapter's recent success in the refugee camps at the Myanmar-Thai border. FilmAid Asia set up a production training programme at the camps, yielding the Hong Kong-based group its first feature, Kitchen Gardens, a story about a widowed mother of three who learns about better hygiene and the joys of gardening with the help of a family of healers and the Mae La refugee camp resource centre.

'Independent filmmakers have the reputation of being intrepid and knowing how to stretch a dollar,' Manne said. 'This was certainly the case for all of those who worked on Kitchen Gardens.'

Regional programme director Mary Soan said that while she might have nudged the process along, the local cast and crew came up with everything themselves. 'There are a lot of inside jokes woven into the story,' she said. Screenings have been held at five camps along the border so far, she said. 'There has been a lot of laughter and amazement at each.'