Elin Berge and Lars Berge bring us Drottninglandet (The Land of Queens), a documentary film that explores the lives of Thai immigrants who live and work in Sweden’s dairy farms. The Land of Queens had its world premiere at Way Out West 2015.

In small towns in the Northwestern countryside of Sweden, Thai women have become a common sight. Many have moved from the same village in Thailand after hearing of job opportunities to ‘milk the cows’ jobs that would help them support their families back home. These Thai women have become the new ‘Dairy farmer’ replacing Swedish women who have long abandoned the region leaving just the Swedish men behind.

Ampawan was one of the first such Thai workers who married a Swede named, Håkan. The film takes a look at her daily routine on the farm and the hardwork she puts in everyday. Pinit, is one of Ampawan’s nephews, who came to live and help in the dairy farm. He often goes berry picking as well and is worried when he hears of another berry picker that was attacked by a bear. He is trying to apply for a permanent visa and learn Swedish. Then there is another couple whose husband is in so much debt, she must work on the farm and takes up another job at a pepperkakor factory. Thai workers take jobs that Swedes don’t want to and are praised by the factory boss saying that one Thai worker is like 3 regular workers.

Drottninglandet gives the viewer a chance to see from the perspective of the Thai workers, what it’s like moving to Sweden, trying to integrate, dealing with the often harsh winters and the challenges that come with working on a dairy farm. It is surprising to see that there is such a large Thai community and even a Thai temple with monks in Sweden, this is definitely something that isn’t common knowledge in Sweden. The film combines interviews with both the Thai immigrants and their partners and the viewer can see how two completely different cultures meet in these communities.

Drottninglandet puts the focus on the Thai workers and what they do to help their families back home. Without their help, these farms would not be thriving as much as they are today. The women make their new lives in rural Sweden, and many of their marriages can be seen as a financial arrangement more than a marriage of love. Drottninglandet, The Land of Queens, is a fascinating documentary that shows that the Thai women are tough enough to do the labor and how much they continue to contribute and impress the communities they live in.