Myanmar Consolidated Media

Suu Kyi sponsors short film festival

By Kyaw Hsu Mon
October 31 - November 6, 2011

DAW Aung San Suu Kyi, Zaganar and director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi have linked up to host a short film festival in January, the comedian told The Myanmar Times last week.

The Art of Freedom Film Festival will be held from January 1 to 4, with documentary and short film makers to submit entries no later than December 20.

The festival aims to “broaden the essence and concept of freedom” among Myanmar people and encourage freedom of expression, organisers said last week.

Zaganar, also known as Ko Thura, and Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi will judge the contest, while Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will provide financial support.

“The idea [to hold the festival] was Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s; we are just supporting her to. She came up with the objectives herself,” Zaganar said.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will provide the funding for the festival and she plans to give the awards to the winners. Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi and I will be responsible for the organisation.

“We will announce the winners and give the prizes on January 4, Independence Day. There are no limits on age or background, anyone who is interested can enter.”

The festival’s objectives include to use film and cinematic art as a medium to see the essence of freedom as explained by an independent filmmaker. Films will be selected “based on an individual filmmaker’s enlightenment on the essence of freedom”, and selected films will be screened over the four days. An opening ceremony will be held on December 31.

The location is yet to be decided but likely to be at either Maha Thantithukha Monastery or Maha Withudaryone Monastery, both in Tarmwe township.

“I prefer the Maha Thantithukha, which is where the Wathann Film Festival was held last month,” Zaganar said.

Films must have English subtitles, and run for no longer than one hour. There are likely to be two prize categories, for Best Short and Best Documentary, and prizes will be awarded but have not yet been announced.

Zaganar said actor Kyaw Thu, head of the Free Funeral Service Society (Yangon), was likely to submit an entry into the competition.

“Making short films is also a hobby of mine … I made a lot of short films in the past but I won’t show any of these in the festival because they are not related with the theme of ‘freedom’,” Zaganar said. “When I released from the prison, I met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and she said she wanted to hold a documentary competition … so we decided to cooperate and arrange this festival.” He said they hope to hold the festival annually.

The selection committee will accept only DVDs of complete films. Directors should submit two copies of their film, along with a completed submission and agreement form, a synopsis of the film, a director’s statement and biographies of the directors and producers.