Between 1964 and 1973 some 270 million bombs were dropped on Lao PDR by US military forces, even though the country was not party to any conflict with the USA. By the end of the American war with Vietnam an estimated 78 million cluster bombs littered the tiny country, giving it the unflattering title of the little land of mines.
Since then more than 20,000 people have been killed by unexploded US military ordinance, with some 300 people — about 120 of whom are children — being killed annually.
Washington DC, USA-based filmmaker Erin McGoff has seen first-hand the devastation these deadly, silently-waiting killers inflict on families and communities.
A Film & Media Arts graduate with an extensive history in documentary film making, Ms McGoff is seeking support to finish a documentary examining the daily effects an illegal act by the corrupt leader of a world superpower is still having 30 years later.
Titled This Little Land of Mines – A Laos Documentary, the production aims to raise awareness of what remains a major impediment to economic growth in Laos today… land that can explode beneath you, leaving your crippled or dead, and your family without a father, mother, grand parent, child, or sibling without any warning.
After travelling through Lao collecting footage, Ms McGoff said she now needs $15,000 to finish This Little Land of Mines – A Laos Documentary, to cover the cost of music, colour correction, and sound design.
The total budget for This Little Land of Mines – A Laos Documentary is said to be $100,000 — a pittance in this day and age — with some $37,000 being required for post-production finishing.
American news media organisation the Pulitzer Centre, film production company NextPix, and nonprofit organisation World Without Mines. have thrown their support behind This Little Land of Mines – A Laos Documentary and it is hoped that those who care enough about informing people of the long lasting ramifications of corrupt practices will ensure its completion.
Donations can be made though a Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign until July 6th with a range of ‘sponsorship’ packages available priced between $15 and $5,000, with some goodies thrown in (nothing to lavish, this film is on a tight budget) ranging from a mention in the credits to tickets to a VIP screening.
A quick check just as we were about to publish this story shows that 68 people had so far joined the campaign to help complete This Little Land of Mines – A Laos Documentary, with a little more than $9,000 of the $15,000 target having so far been pledged.
Update: This story was updated at 09:29 on June 13, 2018:
An earlier version of this story stated that the total budget for This Little Land of Mines – A Laos Documentary as being $37,000. This figure is for post-production costs with the total production costing more than $100,000.
Feature video Erin McGoff
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“I love what I am doing so much as it gives me a lot of great experience and provides challenges to my mind.