New Directions: Women of Thailand

A film by Joanne Burke

France/Thailand | 1997 | 26 minutes | Color | DVD | Subtitled | Order No. 00650

Available only as part of the series New Directions.


In Klong Toey, Bangkok's largest slum, Duang Prateep, a foundation created and run entirely by women provides empowering choices and role models to the area's residents. Part of Joanne Burke's NEW DIRECTIONS series about innovative women in developing countries, this compelling documentary closeup of the women who carry out Duang Prateep's mandate centers on Rotjana Phraesrithong, a remarkable young social worker who first came to Klong Toey as a poor, ill-educated country girl of twelve. As it follows Rotjana in her work with the women and children of Klong Toey, the film reveals how her innovative programs promote schooling among the traditionally underserved community's children. We also see how the foundation's struggle against the spread of AIDS and other health problems is vigorously supported by housewife volunteers from Klong Toey. A valuable resource for studies focusing on the transformation of women's roles in Asia and on educational issues in the developing world, WOMEN OF THAILAND has useful applications for community-based audiences as well.


"Inspiring and humbling. A fascinating and remarkable young woman and the inner city community she works tirelessly to support. Crafted with integrity and sensitivity, here is a strong voice for children, women, community and culture. It holds our attention and earns our respect."

Heather Thanos Education Consultant, Australia


Joanne Burke

Joanne Burke is a documentary film and video producer with long years of top-level experience. She has directed nine documentaries, including an hour-length film on jazz great Mary Lou Williams, MUSIC ON MY MIND (1990), broadcast on PBS, CBS, LaSept/Arte and other European channels.

She produced and directed a series of half-hour video documentaries entitled NEW DIRECTIONS on innovative women in developing countries. WOMEN OF ZIMBABWE was completed in 1996, WOMEN OF THAILAND in 1998, WOMEN OF GUATEMALA in 2000, and SPEAKING OUT: WOMEN, AIDS, AND HOPE IN MALI in 2002. She has also produced two short documentaries on the history of Americans in France during the First World War, THE LAFAYETTE ESCADRILLE (1995) and ANNE MORGAN: AN AMERICAN IN FRANCE (1997). Joanne Burke has edited more than twenty long-form documentaries for CBS, NBC and PBS, many of them winners of major awards, such as Tom Spain's multiple Emmy-winning ANY PLACE BUT HERE and Harry Morgan's FATHERS AND SONS for CBS News. She has also edited three feature films for Sidney Lumet, including THE ANDERSON TAPES with Sean Connery, and co-edited GIMME SHELTER, the Maysles Brothers and Charlotte Zwerin's documentary feature on the Rolling Stones. She also taught film editing for five years at NYU and eight years at the School For Visual Arts.

Her latest production is a compilation of six short documentaries, WHEN AFRICANS AMERICANS CAME TO PARIS, released in 2012. She is now working on PARIS NOIR, AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE CITY OF LIGHT, an hour-length documentary about African American writers, artists, jazz musicians, and Josephine Baker in France in the period from 1918 to 1940. All the films of the Paris years have been independently produced in partnership with her writer/cameraman husband David Burke. (03/19)


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