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// Films // Burma VJ

Burma VJ

Anders Østergaard / Denmark / 2008 / 84 ' / Burmese / S.T. English

Credits

Janus Billeskov-Jansen & Thomas Papapetros
Anders Østergaard & Jan Krogsgaard
Simon Plum & The Burmese VJs
Lise-Lense Møller & Cecilia Valsted

Awards & Festivals

2009, Nominated, Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival
2009, Nominated, Best Documentary Award, European Film Awards
2009, Nominated, Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures, PGA Awards
2010, Nominated, Best Documentary, Features, Academy Awards
2008, Winner, Joris Ivens Award, Amsterdam International Film Festival
2008, Winner, Movies That Matter Award, Amsterdam International Film Festival
2009, Winner, World Cinema Documentary Film Editing Award, Sundance Film Festival
2009, Winner, Best Documentary, Robert Film Festival
2009, Winner, Freedom of Expression Award, National Board of Review, USA
2009, Winner, Grand Prize, Boulder International Film Festival
2009, Winner, Best Documentary, Bodil Awards

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

In Production

Inside the Burmese media revolution where high-risk journalism could mean being "disappeared".

Synopsis

Going beyond the occasional news clip from Burma, the acclaimed filmmaker Anders Østergaard combines original footage recorded by undercover video journalists from the Oslo-based publication, Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), with a controversial reconstruction of scenes from the Saffron Revolution that launched in 2007. As explored by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Andrew Marshall wrote in his critical review of this riveting film, those elements of the film that are reconstructed challenge the viewer to make up their own minds on the role of the film-maker and artistic liberty in documenting what the Burmese state does not want documented.

The film offers a unique insight into high-risk journalism and dissidence in a police state, where courageous young citizens of Burma risk torture and life in jail by keeping up the flow of news from their closed country. Armed with small handycams the Burma VJs stop at nothing to make their reportages from the streets of Rangoon. Their material is smuggled out of the country and broadcast back into Burma via satellite and offered as free usage for international media. The whole world has witnessed single event clips made by the VJs, but for the very first time, their individual images have been carefully put together and at once, they tell a much bigger story.

”Joshua”, age 27, is one of the young video journalists, who works undercover to counter the propaganda of the military regime. Joshua is suddenly thrown into the role as tactical leader of his group of reporters, when the monks lead a massive but peaceful uprising against the military regime. After decades of oblivion - Burma returns to the world stage, but at the same time foreign TV crews are banned from entering the country, so it is left to Joshua and his crew to document the events and establish a lifeline to the surrounding world. It is their footage that keeps the revolution alive on TV screens all over. Amidst marching monks, brutal police agents, and shooting military the reporters embark on their dangerous mission, working around the clock to keep the world informed of events inside the closed country.

The regime quickly understands the power of the camera and the reporters are constantly chased by government intelligence agents who look at the ”media saboteurs” as the biggest prey they can get. During the turbulent days of September, Joshua finds himself on an emotional rollercoaster between hope and despair, as he frantically tries to keep track of his reporters in the streets while the great uprising unfolds and comes to its tragic end. With Joshua as the psychological lens, the Burmese condition is made tangible to a global audience so we can understand it, feel it, and smell it.

 

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