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Samui School Spirit

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While Bent Marble’s primary mission is to teach creative documentary workshops that foster cross-cultural understanding, we are also filmmakers ourselves, and look forward to those opportunities when we are able to use our cinematic skills to help like-minded organizations. This past June and July we had the opportunity to film a promotional video for Koh Samui School, the largest public school on the island of Koh Samui, located off the east coast of Thailand. Although we don’t speak Thai, the language barrier was readily overcome through the assistance of English teacher, Alfred te Water Naude, English department head, Judy Walaiporn, and school headmaster, Pore Or. And with their support we were also welcomed with open hearts and minds by the entire staff and student body, as we “intruded” for nearly four weeks with our cameras, filming all aspects of school life.

In addition to their regular academic coursework, the students at Koh Samui School take part in an impressive array of extra-curricular activities, ranging from traditional music and dance, to meditation courses, to lively performances in assemblies where the entire audience also participates! Our time filming at the school fortuitously also coincided with their annual island-wide athletics (track & field) championships, which is highlighted in our piece.

It was truly a wonderful experience being part of the Koh Samui School community and we look forward to offering our creative documentary workshops there the next time we are in town. And while we couldn’t showcase all the fine folks we met in this short video (recently edited and “hot off the press”), we certainly hope we’ve captured some of their spirit!

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Raining, Cats, and Dogs

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Well for the last week it truly has been raining a lot here on Koh Samui.  But other than having to break out our ponchos and stay indoors a bit more than usual, we really haven’t minded.  “Why?”, you might ask.  Well, because we’ve been hard at work editing a video for our favorite nonprofit here on the island, the Dog and Cat Rescue Samui Foundation.

While Bent Marble’s primary mission is to teach creative documentary workshops that foster cross-cultural understanding, we are also filmmakers ourselves, and look forward to those opportunities when we are able to use our cinematic skills to help like-minded organizations and friends.. be they two-legged or four:)

Have a look at the video we made, hot off the press, and posted on the YouTube channel of Brigitte Gomm, the organization’s founder.  Let us know what you think, or better yet head to their website www.samuidog.org and learn more about how you can lend a helping paw… err hand!

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Still in Transit

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After leaving Saint Petersburg, we have had quite a long journey ahead of us in order to get to our next location, Southern Thailand.. a three-and-a-half-day journey to be exact.  We travel as cheaply as possible, but this sometimes leads to getting flights with extremely long layovers in different cities.  This, however, can work to your advantage if you truly enjoy traveling and don’t mind being “in transit”.

Our first flight took us to Berlin, Germany, where we had a 13-hour layover, which we spent touring the city, highlighted by this equally beautiful and somber memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

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We caught a red-eye flight that night which took us to our next layover location, Abu Dhabi, where we also were for a day.  The monuments to both Islam and capitalism were impressive, but the heat was a sweltering 108°, with our chance to shower and sleep in a real bed still days away!

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Our final flight (another red-eye) took us to Bangkok, Thailand, where we arrived early in the morning.  We headed straight to the southern bus terminal, only to find out that the bus heading to Koh Samui (our final destination) was an 11-hour night time journey, and we had a good 10 hours to kill.  Quite used to our never-ending state of being in transit by now, we happily toured the nearby area of this vibrant city until it was time to catch our bus.

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Arriving at the port of Don Sak we were a short 1-hour ferry ride to the island of Koh Samui, where we caught a final 1-hour ride in the back of a pickup truck to our final destination.  And while we can breath a well-earned sigh of relief that we’ve finally arrived, the real work here begins very soon!

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But with all this talk of being “in transit” it would be hard not to be reminded of my first Clackumentary, a world music-travel documentary, I did with my friend Abhi about a decade ago.  It resonates quite well with the mission and beliefs of Bent Marble, so if you have a minute to remain “in transit” with us, please watch.. and stay tuned!