Monday, August 19, 2019

A city within

May 06. 2019
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“Capital of Mae La”, a short documentary premiering at SEA Junction on May 18 at 5pm, tells the story of Mae La, a refugee settlement on the Thailand-Myanmar border, through personal conversations with its inhabitants.

Mae La has been home to more than 40,000 refugees for more than 30 years. Lives supposedly “inbetween” have become permanent while the camp has acquired features of a city: dynamic, vibrant, with more facilities and more mobility for refugees than one would expect.

This project is a semi-longitudinal work over a four-year timespan, produced in an artistic and ethnographic context. It started with personal curiosity and later developed into a tribute to the fascinating individuals of Mae La who shared their stories with the makers.


The short film presents a personal reflection on the lives of refugees in long-term camps, for whom the camp has become their home and raises questions about issues of citizenship, statelessness, nationality and permanent residency.

Produced by designer and filmmaker Belle Phromchanya and anthropologist Jiraporn Laocharoenwong, the documentary has recently been screened at the Pakhuis de Zwijger cultural centre in Amsterdam. After the screening in Thailand, there will be an informal Q&A discussion with both makers and Matcha Phornin, a human and gender rights activist who works on issues of statelessness with refugees and other marginalised communities.

This event is part of the series “Displaced and Uprooted in Southeast Asia” in collaboration with TIFA Foundation. The series aims to give visibility to the fate of displaced persons, asylum seekers and refugees in the region and stimulate public discussion on inclusive policy and intervention responses to forced movements of people.

The event is free, but donations are welcome to enable SEA Junction to continue its activities and keep events accessible to the public.

For more information and reservations, please call (097) 002 4140 or email


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