Directed by

Michael Buckley

Country of Origin




A satirical personal take on ecosystem collapse along the mighty Mekong River, with the biggest threat being Chinese megadams in Yunnan, SW China. Take a wild ride on the Mekong from Source to Sea: ‘Mekong Apocalypse’ explores the devastating downstream impact of China’s megadams in Cambodia’s Lake Tonle Sap and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. The filmmaker shot this on the run, getting undercover footage of megadams and illegal sand-dredging. Drawing inspiration from water puppetry theatre in Vietnam, this film features characters like a talking glacier in Tibet, waltzing fish in Laos, and a talking sunflower in Vietnam to get complex concepts across. With this slapstick approach, the film does tend to meander–like the Mekong herself. With its sly nod to Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now,’ this is a documentary with strong elements of a mockumentary. Background music carries a stark message–as a number of tracks have been specially commissioned for the film. This film is part four of a series of films delving into serious ecosystem problems concerning the Tibetan plateau.

Director Biography – Michael Buckley

Michael Buckley is a Canadian filmmaker and writer. He has traversed the Mekong region many times since the early 1990s in the course of researching, writing and updating an 800-page guidebook to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and an 800-page guidebook to China, and writing a 400-page guidebook to Tibet. He has thus seen first-hand the drastic changes happening in the Mekong region. Buckley is author of 15 books and photo-books covering the Asian and Himalayan regions.