Current LCC MA Documentary Film student Rittikorn (Champ) Mahakhachabhorn has just become the fourth student in three years on the course to win a One World Media (OWM) production award for his film proposal.
With a working title of ‘LISTEN TO THE RICE’, Champ’s proposed film is about the struggles of rice farmers in his native Thailand. This project began when Champ discovered that multiple Thai rice farmers had committed suicide in February 2014: it was this sad revelation that motivated Champ to do more research in to Thailand’s rice market, and the failings of the Thai government’s controversial rice subsidy.
“I would like to discover a way to resolve this issue from the farmers’ perspective. Is there any real solution?” Champ explains, “Thai rice farmers are very poor. They spend all of their time working so they can immediately sell their crops to the mill houses. The crops are bought for a very low price but the farmers have no choice because they can’t afford for the rice to start rotting. Moreover, they have to buy the milled rice back from the mill houses in order to feed their families.”
For over a decade One World Media has supported young people, giving them the funding to enable them to travel to developing countries and make a piece of media. Their funding gives young people interested in journalism or filmmaking that are based in the UK, the opportunity to cover stories in the developing world to bring these stories to a wider audience. Many of the young people in their production fund programme have gone on to achieve great success in the industry, and in the past four years, three LCC students have been selected.
The funding has been put to good use by our previous students: Joshua Hughes used the fund to make ‘Stadium TV’: a short documentary on the Nigerian music scene that emerged in the 60s and 70s in Lagos. Miguel Rato’s ‘Stage Name’ explores behind the scenes of a play in Africa’s second smallest country São Tomé and Princípe, and Raul Caldeira used the fund to make a documentary about teenage pregnancies in Venezuela.
Champ was delighted and surprised to have been awarded the funding: “I didn’t have much confidence in my proposal as I was aware that OWM prefer to fund films that send people to places that aren’t their home countries. My film will take me back to Thailand, so I will need to work very hard to prove that my piece is worth it. I do feel extremely lucky: I felt like a footballer scoring his first goal when I found out!”