The Black Hmong and a Different Way of Life

A group of Black Hmong women leave their traditional village to embark on a journey to the city of Hanoi, many for the first time.

With the aim to promote their village and businesses to tourism companies, they must also navigate a modern world in this transformative journey.

Creative team

Writers: Chris Carnovale, Kyle Sandilands
Director: Kyle Sandilands
Producers: Chris Carnovale, Chris Bottrill

Filmmaker’s statement

The communities of Lao Chai and Ta Phin village, both near Sapa in Vietnam, will always have a strong place in my heart. There are few times as a filmmaker where you get a chance to meet such a remarkable and beautifully welcoming people in such an amazing part of the world.

Having produced several films about the ethnic minority groups in the Sapa region, whose lives are changing as a result of tourism, I’ve been returning to the area since 2011 and have been lucky to have felt real connections and made strong friendships.

It’s a rewarding experience creating these films, and the chance to follow a group from their village to the city, and to see their reactions visiting shopping malls, staying in five-star hotels, being tourists for the first time – it’s been fantastic to be a part of, and something I’ll never forget.

The goal, as always, has been to see these communities become empowered, and enjoy a better quality of life for families. My hope is that the films can help share their story to others around the world.

About Kyle Sandilands

Kyle Sandilands

Kyle Sandilands is a Canadian filmmaker with a background in shooting, directing and editing.

Always in search of projects that push the limits physically, creatively and experientially, Kyle has shot and directed documentaries for clients including CBC and History Channel, and his travels have taken him filming everywhere from the Canadian Arctic to the jungles of Cambodia, to trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

Kyle has been involved with the CBT Vietnam project since 2011, and has produced several documentaries about the relationship between tourism and the minority groups who call Sapa home.

With wins in both Hmong and tourism-related festivals around the world, these films have played a large role in the ongoing support for community-based training efforts in Lao Chai and Ta Phin communities.

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