Asian Indigenous

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The Love Market
In the highlands of North Vietnam lies the remote town of Sapa, home to a mosaic of colourful hill tribes. Sapa opened to tourism in the late 1990s, and now roughly 200 hill tribe girls aged 7 - 18 years…
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
With Happy People: A Year in the Taiga , Werner Herzog takes viewers on yet another unforgettable journey into remote and extreme natural landscapes. The acclaimed filmmaker presents this visually stunning documentary about the people living in the heart of…
Ancient Futures: Learning From Ladakh
How we can learn about ecological solutions from an ancient culture? Ladakh, or Little Tibet, is a wildly beautiful desert land high in the western Himalayas. It is a place of few resources and an extreme climate. Yet, for more…
The Goddess and the Computer
For centuries, rice farmers on the island of Bali have taken great care not to offend Dewi Danu, the water goddess who dwells in the crater lake near the peak of Batur volcano. Toward the end of each rainy season,…
Running Out of Time
In many ways the heart of indigenous India, mineral-rich Jharkhand is and has been at the core of India's industrial development after independence. There, the indigenous Adivasi people have borne the brunt of what is arguably India's most fundamental developmental…
Jathilan: Trance and Possession in Java
Practiced in Java for centuries, Jathilan is a folk dance that uses the power of music and dance to channel powerful and sometimes terrifying forces. Led by a spiritual guide and a whip-bearing ringleader, a group of dancers ride woven…
Himalayan Herders
Himalayan Herders is an intimate portrait of a temple-village in the Yolmo valley of Central Nepal where Tibetan Buddhists consult shamans, married life begins by kidnapping the bride, and the nearest road is a two-day walk away. The community drama…
Sailing a Sinking Sea: Exploring the Culture of the Moken People
Sailing a Sinking Sea is a feature-length experimental documentary exploring the culture of the Moken people of Burma and Thailand. The Moken are a seafaring community and one of the smallest ethnic minority groups in Asia, traditionally spending eight months…
Returning Souls - Connection with Ancestors in Taiwan
The carved pillars of the matrilineal Amis tribe's famed ancestral house recount tribal legends such as The Great Flood and The Glowing Girl, and are home to the ancestral spirits of the Amis. The pillars, however, were removed from the…
The Three Worlds of Bali
On the Indonesian island of Bali, the arts permeate almost every aspect of daily life. Gamelan music, wayang (shadow puppet) theater, dance, and elaborately constructed offerings of foods and flowers all represent attempts to please the gods and placate demons.…
Bendum: In The Heart of Mindanao Philippines
This documentary is about the homeland and daily life of an indigenous tribal community in the tropical uplands of central Mindanao, Philippines. In this small village called Bendum, the local community has successfully struggled, after decades of commercialized logging and…
We Know How To Do These Things: Birth In a Newar Village
For these villagers, giving birth is a family affair; while a young girl is in labor, the birth attendant, mother and mother-in-law alternate between lending a hand and story telling. Barbara Johnson studied documentary film and photography with Jerry Liebling…
The Return of Gods and Ancestors: The Five Year Ceremony
The Return of Gods and Ancestors is the first locally made ethnographic film in Taiwan. Under extremely low budget, anthropologist Hu Tai-Li recorded with a hand-cranked Bell & Howell 16 mm camera the most magnificent five year ceremony in Paiwan…
Voices of Orchid Island
Voices of Orchid Island focuses on the Yami on Orchid Island, a small island located 45 miles off the southeast coast of Taiwan in the Pacific Ocean. The film explores the complex and often troubled relationship the Yami community has…
The Akha Way
For over a thousand years, the Akha people have inhabited the hills of Asia -- mainly Southern China, Burma and Northern Thailand. The Akha Way or Akhazaunh, is the code by which they live. This documentary describes their origins and…
My Mother's Village
Part of the Series: My Mother's Village and the Sri Lanka Series
In this journey back to the sites of his parents' work, Aaron Burton meets people who appeared in the original films and discusses with them their perspective on the films and their lives since that time. It is also at…
The Feast in Dream Village
The eastern Indonesian island of Sumba is the last island in the Malay archipelago where the majority of the people still follow their ancestral religion, called marapu. This film, shot in 1986, focuses on a challenge to the authority of…
My Mother's Village and the Sri Lanka Series - Sri Lanka Natives Share their Lives
Re-visting the villages in Sri Lanka where anthropologist Sharon Bell and cinematographer Geoff Burton made three landmark documentaries in the 1970's. This series contains all four films in this remarkable Sri Lankan cycle.
4 videos
Singer From Taiga
The film portrays the folk singer Mr.Tsogbadrakh's pursuit of finding and preserving ethnic songs, and also displays the unique and magnificent beauty of Huvsgul province of Mongolia. Darkhad people and their unique culture have been part of Mongolia's taiga for…
Releasing the Spirits: A Village Cremation in Bali
Cremation rites are the most elaborate rites of passage performed by Balinese householders. Poor families may wait years before accumulating enough resources to cremate their dead, who are buried in the meantime. In 1978 many more cremations than usual were…