Filmmaker Ansley Sawyer in conversation with Duncan Chalmers

  • Ansley Sawyer Freehand Films
  • Duncan Chalmers University of Victoria


Former CAPI intern Duncan Chalmers interviews filmmaker Ansley Sawyer about the making of the documentary 'Like We Don't Exist'


Today, thousands of people live in refugee camps along the Thai-Burmese border, displaced from decades of relentless civil war at the hands of the Burmese military. The Karenni are an ethnically diverse community that has survived the ongoing ethnic violence and mass displacement from their homeland, located historically between Thailand and Myanmar (formerly called Burma).

After 70 years of conflict -- the longest ongoing civil war in the world -- the Karenni face an uncertain future as a refugee community along the Thai-Burmese border.

These are the voices of the Karenni people. Select names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Co-Directors: Ansley Sawyer and Corey Embring
Executive Producer: Ansley Sawyer
Director of Photography, Editor: Corey Embring
Translator, Production Manager, Inspiration: Johnfreeco Komoe
Associate Producer, Photographer: Jenna Spitz

Original music composition by Dustin Lau


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Author Biographies

Ansley Sawyer, Freehand Films
Ansley is a semi-nomadic film director and producer. A speaker, advocate, and entrepreneur, her docu-vérité work has been featured on Vimeo Staff Picks, BBC, National Geographic, and TEDx. She specializes in run-and-gun filmmaking, producing difficult-to-access human stories around the world. She integrates her sensitivity for documentary production within the world of commercial videography as Founder and Creative Director of her company Freehand Films.
Duncan Chalmers, University of Victoria

Duncan is former CAPI intern and development professional with a background in community-based education, youth empowerment, and global engagement. Throughout 2017 and 2018, he lived and worked at the Karenni Social Development Center, a small community-based organization that provides human rights-focused training to young Karenni refugees, equipping them with the tools needed to help build a peaceful, democratic society, based on the rule of law. With this, Duncan is a strong advocate for projects that aid in creating more equitable, resilient, and sustainable communities through locally-led approaches. 

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