Official trailer Clip
Coming this fall
Tonlé Sap lake, Cambodia
A film by ZALMAÏ
BETWEEN THE LAKE AND THE STARS
The Tonle Sap Lake has been described as “the heart of Cambodia”, and that heart is now in critical condition, the world’s largest and most productive inland fishery.
The lake is experiencing the perfect storm of climate change and the damming of the Mekong and its tributaries. Journey to one of Cambodia’s most remote locations and experience the resilience and strength of the people of the Tonle Sap Lake as they bear witness to its loss. This is an intimate look into the lives of those who live in floating villages far from the tourists of Siem Reap. It is the story of a small NGO, The Lake Clinic, and its success at bringing health care to these villages. It is the story of award-winning photographer, Zalmaï and his efforts to bring back to the villagers the images and impressions of his more than one year of experience working on the lake. It is the story of the villagers themselves, and in their own words, their reactions not just to those images, but to a way of life they are watching disappear..
The Tonle Sap is the world’s largest and most productive inland fishery. At least 500,000 tons of fish are drawn from it each year—more than all of North America’s rivers and lakes combined. But the Tonle Sap Lake, which relies on reverse flows from the Mekong River during the wet season, has recorded the lowest flows since 1997. The lake is critical as a source of fish for the millions of Cambodians dependent on the lake, providing both income and sustenance.
Climate change, drought, and upstream dams have led to record low water levels on the Mekong River, the shortage is significantly harming Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake and the surrounding fishing communities.
Hundreds of upstream dams on the Mekong between China and Laos are contributing to record lows on the river because of restrictions on water flow. This results in distress for fishing communities along the Tonle Sap as well as a lowered fish catch, The decreased catch has battered residents—particularly those who live on floating villages on the lake and have no other means to support themselves. For those who are living on the floating villages on the Tonle Sap, mostly, when there is no water and no fish, they become destitute right away, as they have nothing else to depend on.
In the most remote places of the lake, there is no hospital, no clinic for these distant populations who suffer from malnutrition, diseases linked to the pollution of the lake, drought, depression and the economic consequences of coronavirus which silently strikes its inhabitants.