Documentary Arts Asia – Revisited

Back in August 2012, I encountered Documentary Arts Asia (“DAA”) on the web and was interested in the breadth of this organization’s offerings. I connected with Ryan Libre, DAA’s Founder and Director, and in an earlier interview he outlined some of DAA’s activities, including an artist-in-residence program located in Chaing Mai, Thailand.

Returning to the DAA website recently, I see some new activities, including the Chain Mai Documentary Arts Festival 2013 (running from Feb 8 – 14, 2013) and the first of what may be multiple Podcasts. I asked Ryan for an update on DAA.

Q1. Ryan, this is the 2nd Chaing Mai film festival, correct? Will the format (exhibitions by photographers, film screenings, and workshops) be the same as in 2012? And can you give us some highlights?

Libre: Yes, second installment. This year is different in that we have one of the best galleries in SE Asia booked for the festival and 5 partner exhibitions in additions to our 10 major exhibitions. We also have a proper theater booked for the films, a photobook showcase, and a great key note speaker, Shahidul Alam.

Q2. When we last spoke you had just launched your DAA Artist in Residence program, with the first artist (Sitthixay Ditthavong) having been selected. How did Sitthixay’s project work out? Do you have plans to bring in another artist this year?

Libre: This project is unfortunately on hold for right now. We have had no real funding in the last year and have managed to keep all our programs running but this. However im sure very soon someone will support this and we have have 1 – 4 AIR programs a year.

Q3. I also see DAA has begun a Podcast series. What’s on the horizon for the Podcast series?

Libre: Lots of in depth multimedia interviews with established and rising Asian photographers and others influential in the field.

Q4. You’re also seeking a sponsor for the Podcast series. What will that sponsorship involve?

Libre: Sure, it takes time and resources to do these justice. I’m hapy to give good PR and credit to any company or individual who can cover our basic costs to produce them. Win-Win situation.

Q5. Any other plans — either for DAA or for yourself — for 2013?

Libre: In 2013 DAA and I will finish a feature length Documentary on the Kachin Independence organization. ( We’re also planing to get our center in Kachin State running full time.

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