BBC Filmmaker’s Unique Experience

World Challenge 2009 – Voting Opens September 28

The BBC film crew captures moments of the UCLA study tour in Ban Talae Nok.

Andaman Discoveries (AD) is one of twelve finalists for the World Challenge 2009, a global competition aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grassroots level. As a finalist, AD will be featured by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). In July we welcomed a film crew for a three-day visit that coincided with the UCLA study tour, allowing students to travel with the film crew.

The film crew visited several AD projects, including Tung Dap, the Burmese Learning Center, and Ban Talae Nok. “The visit to meet the Moken villagers on Tung Dap was truly a unique experience. I have traveled far and wide to over 80 countries in the course of my work and leisure, but rarely have I experienced what I did that day. I was let into and warmly received (with no strings attached) to a private and special community. The sensitive manner in which Andaman Discoveries and the communities it works with approaches these visits, is in my opinion the only sustainable path in order to retain a true taste of adventure without trampling all over and quickly losing what was special and attracted one there in the first place,” said the film crew director.

According to Kevin Hung, a UCLA student, “being part of the filming of this program as an active participant in ecotourism has given me hope for the people of Thailand and the world’s environmental mindset as a whole. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of something so big and I wish you the best of luck in years to come.”

While the filming was timely to be during the study tour, it wasn’t timely for weather! During the three-day visit, Phang Nga province had record rains that caused severe flooding, closing roads and requiring evacuations. The students, guests, film crew, and all of us have a newfound appreciation for the term “monsoon”!

Andaman Discoveries will be in the spotlight on BBC World News on Oct. 17 at 2:30 p.m. (GMT) and Oct. 18 at 2:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. (GMT). Also, Newsweek will have a feature article coinciding with the BBC World News broadcasts. We’ll announce when the Newsweek article has gone live.

You can vote for Andaman Discoveries from Sept. 28 through Nov. 13. Voting will be available at the World Challenge Web site.

Special thanks again to Stanislava Cholakova, on behalf of the SEED Initiative, for the nomination.