Soil Without Land

Nontawat Numbenchapol
80 minutes


Jai Sang Lod recounts how in 2001 he arrived in a displacement camp at the Thai border with his family, fleeing the fighting between the Burmese army and the Shan minority, and had to join the Shan State Army to do his compulsory military service. Nontawat Numbenchapol filmed him in this crucial moment of his existence, as this peaceful young man must accept, shortly after the death of his mother, to leave his young brothers and sisters behind and learn the military profession.

More about Film

For over 50 years, a civil war has waged between the Shan, Burma’s largest ethnic minority group, and the Burmese military. As a small child, Jai Sang Lod, his family, and many other Shan families fled to a Shan State Army (SSA) governed village sitting between the borders of Burma and Northern Thailand. Living in a disputed land, undefined as a state, Sang Lod and his family were stuck in the village without any lD or passport.

As the village authority, the SSA ordered a mandatory military training for all young men. Leaving his family behind, Jai Sang Lod is to become a soldier with a lifetime duty to fight for Shan sovereignty and liberation from the Burmese military.

Under the burning sun, the training officer lectures 100 young men on manhood and patriotism. Sang Lod trains alongside his comrades, with each command slowly molding these boys into uniformed men.

Other Details

Production Company
Mobile Lab Project


Docs By The Sea 2017


Best Asian Project
Docs Port Incheon
Pitching du Réel
Visions du Réel
World Premiere
Visions du Réel


Nontawat Numbenchapol
Nontawat Numbenchapol
Director, Cinematographer, Editor
Nontawat Numbenchapol believed in the rhythm and methods of fiction filmmaking to evoke a special quality to his creative documentary structure, in-line with his more observational visual compositiions. He has created three creative documentaries since 2013: Boundary (2013), By the River (2013), and #BKKY (2016). These films were screened across many international film festivals such as Berlinale, IDFA, Yamagata, Locarno, and Busan. Soil Without Land, his fourth feature documentary, premiered at Visions Du Reel International Competition in 2019.
Komtouch "Dew" Napattaloong
Komtouch "Dew" Napattaloong
Born in Bangkok but raised in southern US, Napattaloong concluded his education at the University of Texas with short works, including Motherland, that made its way to international festivals. In 2016, Napattaloong participated in a workshop with Abbas Kiarostami. Currently in Bangkok, Napattaloong works as Lab Manager for Southeast Asia Fiction Film Lab/SEAFIC, along with producing, shooting, directing short films and developing his first feature creative documentary. In 2019, Napattaloong co-programmed for the SAC Asean Film Festival.
Aekaphong Saransate
Aekaphong Saransate
Aekaphong is an independent filmmaker. He grew up from Songkhla, a quiet province nearby the beach located in the South of Thailand. He graduated from Chulalongkorn university, major in film and still hotography. He started his career as a director and editor of television documentary. Last year, he completed “The Sea Recalls”, a short documentary about obscure death of his uncle Krit Saransate that had been selected to 29th SGIFF.

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