Director: Douglas Varchol | Producer: Douglas Varchol
Focus Years: 2012 | Country: Thailand
The Mekong River is a massive ecosystem that is the lifeline for more than 60 million people across six countries: China, Burma/Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. For the people in the Lower Mekong Basin, it provides more fish to more people than any other river in the world. With an estimated commercial value exceeding US$2 billion per year, its the worlds most valuable inland fishery. At the same time, more than 184 hydropower dams are currently planned, under construction or commissioned for different rivers in the basin. If constructed, this will radically alter the basin's hydrology, ecology and, consequently, the lives of millions who depend upon it. The question is how can these seemingly opposite demands be met; sustainable development of a region and the rising demands for energy and economic growth?
Mekong is a one-hour documentary on the Mekong River, examining the issues of hydropower development and its impact on Mekong citizen's lives.
The film features stories of Mekong citizens up and down the river, from fishers on the Tonle Sap, activists still fighting at the Pak Mun dam in Thailand, to a vice minister from Laos convinced he can build the region's most river-transparent dam. Filmed in four countries, and four languages, it includes footage of China's Mekong [Lancang] dams, as well as on-site footage of the controversial Xayaburi dam in Laos.