Document Film Festival Spring Tour

When Elephants Dance, the Grass Gets Beaten

Jan van de Berg / Netherlands 2014 / 25 minutes

Almost three quarters of the available land for agriculture in Cambodia has been sold to companies that produce for export only. As this is disastrous for local food production, the World Food Programme supports vulnerable sectors of the population with food aid. In the meantime, the exile of farmers continues: Since 2003, more than 400,000 Cambodians have been chased off their land as a result of land grabbing for profit.

When Elephants Dance, The Grass Gets Beaten is the first film released under the Silent Land project, which tells the stories of farmers around the world who fight to maintain control of their land and play an essential role for the food security in their region. Silent Land is a sequel to the multiple award-winning documentary “Silent Snow” (2011).

Defenders of the Spirit Forest

Rod Harbinson / UK 2014 / 26 mins

Cambodia’s remote Cardamom mountains are a remaining jewel of biodiversity in a country where rain forests are dwindling fast. Still home to rare species like the Siamese crocodile and Asian elephant, the forest is under great pressure from people exploiting its natural resources.

Defenders of the Spirit Forest explores these pressures from the perspective of the local indigenous people who have been custodians of the forest for generations. For them, the forest and its creatures are part of a rich spiritual world that is respected and revered. Now their lives are under threat from a proposed hydro-electric dam which could sweep away their land and the sacred forests on which they depend…