Mekong River, The

2013 Films

U.S. Premiere

Mekong River, The

(c) Douglas Varchol, MEKONG

5:30 PM

Directed by: Various

Venue: Goethe-Institut

The Mekong River

Shown as part of Goethe-Institut’s D.C. Mekong Days and as part of EFF’s Rivers Program

The Mekong River Basin is the lifeline for more than 60 million people in China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The focus of transnational cooperation and competition, international investment and aid, the Mekong River is also a worrisome example of the ecological changes taking place in Southeast Asia. More than 140 dams are currently planned, under construction or commissioned for different rivers in the basin and these would completely alter the basin’s hydrology, ecology and, consequently, the lives of millions who depend upon it. 

Introduced by filmmaker Douglas Varchol.

MEKONG THE MOTHER (Cambodia, 2000, 30 min.) The importance of the Mekong to the inhabitants of the river basin is demonstrated as fishermen, boat captains and other ordinary people tell of their livelihoods, their beliefs and their love for the river. The film stresses the need for cooperation to ensure the health of the river and the economic well- being of people in the river basin. Directed by Peter Degen.

MEKONG (South East Asian Countries, 2012, 51 min.) United States Premiere Stories of Mekong citizens upstream and down, from fishermen on the Tonle Sap to activists still fighting against the Pak Mun Dam in Thailand, are told in this far-reaching film that also features a vice minister from Laos convinced he can build the region’s most “river-transparent” dam. Filmed in four countries and four languages, Mekong captures footage of China’s Mekong (Lancang) dams, as well as the controversial Xayaburi Dam in Laos. Directed by Douglas Varchol.

This program kicks off Goethe-Institut’s D.C. Mekong Days. Together with filmmakers and aid experts from Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Europe, the Goethe-Institut presents films and a public dialogue about the pros and cons of manmade ecological, social and economic changes along the Mekong River. The program is presented in cooperation with the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, the CGIAR Challenge Program for Water and Food and Mekong Water Dialogues. For the full schedule, please go to

Ticket/Reservation Info:

Tickets: $7, General Admission; $4, students, seniors and Friends of the Geothe-Institut, available at


812 Seventh St., NW

(Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown)

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Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital