A Farmer’s Tale (18’18”)



A Farmer’s Tale offers an insight into the life of a former opium poppy grower in the Pa-O region of Myanmar’s southern Shan State. Strikingly photographed, this short documentary shows how local NGO, Metta Development Foundation, is helping this farmer and others like him to develop viable alternatives to growing opium and earn a living from a harsh, unyielding land.

The Metta Development Foundation is a local non-governmental organisation established in 1998 to help communities in Myanmar evolve into self-reliant, peaceful societies through social and economic growth. As a result of Metta’s Farmer Field School programme, over 3,523 farmers in northern Myanmar have disengaged from opium cultivation; moreover, no fewer than 2,693 acres of land previously used for poppy fields is now completely free from opium cultivation.

A Farmer's Tale


Director: Lay Thida
Camera: Tin Win Naing
Sound: Thu Thu Shein
Editor: Lay Thida


Lay Thida was born in 1983 in Loikaw, Kayah state in eastern Myanmar. An English graduate (Taunggyi University), she joined the YFS in 2005. A regular sound recordist on YFS productions, her directorial debut Just A Boy earned her a Heinrich Boell Foundation Documentary Award in 2007. Her subsequent work includes portraits of an ex-poppy grower (A Farmer’s Tale, 2007) and a young development worker (The Change Maker, 2008), and a short documentary about domestic violence in Shan State (Unreported Story, 2011). In 2010 she received a Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship to attend a documentary course at the National Film and Television School in the United Kingdom, which culminated in the production of a short documentary, Wrong Side Up. Alongside her work as a filmmaker she has co-founded the Myanmar-based NGO Better-Life, which supports in particular children, women and migrants.

Filmography (selection)

2005     Peace Of Mind (10’11”, sound recordist)
2006     A Million Threads (15’20”, sound recordist)
2006     A Sketch of Wathone (14’58”,sound recordist)
2006     The Uninvited Guest (13’49”, sound recordist)
2006     Just A Boy (13’05”, director and editor)
2007     A Farmer’s Tale (18’17”, director and editor)
2007     The Merry Widows of Nam Mun Village (22’22”, sound recordist)
2008     The Change Maker (15’59”, director and editor)
2009     Listen to Us (18’43”, director and editor)
2009     The Long Way Home (8’15”, director and editor)
2009     Our Forests, Our Future (23’15”, sound recordist)
2011     Unreported Story (12′, director)
2011     Wrong Side Up (12’22”, director and editor)
2011     Bungkus (The Parcel) (18’50”, director)

Screening History

September 2010 Thai International Short Film Festival, Bangkok, Thailand
October 2010 Doi Saket Film Festival, Thailand

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