This is a short documentary we made for GREAT (Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism), a project funded by the Australian Government and one that always emphasizes gender equality and women empowerment.
The main character in the film is a woman named Mai of the H’Mong ethnic minority. She changed her family’s living from being needy to being well-off. The positive change was the result of her decision to join in a new model of cooperative farming supported by a private company to cater clean vegetable to Hanoi market. Mai represents many other minority women who are faced with adversity. They are hampered from taking a more pro-active role in improving their family’s economy, cannot get assistance to shift to a more productive farming alternative and have no access to the market for the consumption of their farm produce. However, with a farming model based on cooperation between farmers and private companies along with sponsorship from GREAT, they are well-positioned to overcome their own circumstances of hardship just like Mai.
We came up with around 10 choices for the documentary’s title. And finally we chose “From village to market” as it much like a statement of success for farmers in a remote area in taking part in the main market supply chain. Bringing vegetables from a village to the market is a big and life-changing step for farmers involved. For that reason, we think the chosen title is the most suited.
To highlight the genuiness of the story, we used a modest technique of story-telling for the documentary. Some infographic animations were also inserted to help viewers’ understanding for the sake of clarity. There are no flashy image effects and there is only one flycam shot in the documentary.
Minority people are often hesitant and uncomfortable in front of the camera. Being aware of this, we spent considerable time to talk to Mai and made her feel comfortable before we started shooting. Mai only speaks the H’Mong language and therefore her speech had to be translated into the Kinh language (standard Vietnamese) and English for the voice-over and subtitles.