Chronicles: Refugee and Immigrant Experience
Hilltribe People of Laos – Indochina Refugee Experience – Cambodian Holocaust
Film Series Produced By David Gilbert
This program is an unusual glimpse into the daily life activities, new years ceremonies, and traditional religious rituals of the Hmong people living in the Bin Vinai refugee camp of Thailand. The program is narrated with historical and cultural background information which offers an inside understanding of the Hmong people of Laos.
The Hmong, who were recruited by the CIA to fight the communist Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam war, fled across the Mekong river into Thailand to avoid persecution by the communist forces that came to power in Laos in the spring of 1975.
The Effects of War
From the war in their homeland – to the refugee camps of South East Asia – to the streets, communities and schools of the United States: refugee youths and their families, directors of international relief agencies, and sponsors retell the story of the turbulent stages of transition common to the Indo Chinese refugee experience.This unique historical documentary briefly reviews: the history and culture of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, their ancient past, Chinese rule, French colonialism, the French and American Indochina war, the rise to power of the communist forces, and the mass exodus of refugees fleeing Indochina – even to this day.Utilizing the artwork created by refugee artists and children, personal interviews, and background historical narration, this program traces the various stages common to the refugee experience: their traditional life and culture in their homeland, the war, their flight and journey to the country of first asylum, life in the refugee camps, and resettlement to the United States. The interviews, paintings, traditional songs and music were gathered from the refugee camps in Southeast Asia and schools in California.
“In Vietnam there was lots of bombing. My house was bombed, luckily we had a basement, my uncle built a basement and we hid in there.” Danny Loi, 12 years old
“I lived in the camps for two years. I learned to adapt to the environment, no electricity and not enough food to eat.” Lillian Luu, 17 years old
The Khmer Historical Mural
This program is the story of the Khmer people of Cambodia or Kampuchea, showing their ancient past and rich cultural heritage to their present history: from the war and holocaust in their homeland to their journey to freedom. This program is interwoven with paintings created by young Khmer artists, a bilingual narration, traditional and contemporary folk songs with voice-over translation, live interviews and the unfolding creation of a historical mural painting done by artists and youth living in the Khao – I – Dang refugee holding center located on the Thai Cambodian border.
“During the Pol Pot times I was separated from some persons in my family, they had me build a dam or dig a ditch. During the Pol Pot times they killed my father, my nephew and my grandparents.” Sam Poly, 14 years old
“We traveled through the jungle only at night. During my journey many Khmer people died by starvation without food to eat.”” Lun Channa, 13 years old