Thursday, August 17, 2017

Yangon film festival :Testing the waters

Local film directors, hampered by budget constraints and resources, have taken the omnibus route to reach their audience and ‘’Psycho Zero,’’ which will have its opening screening during the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival in Yangon starting tomorrow, is the first fruit of their labour.

One of the highlights of the week-long festival, ‘’Psycho Zero’’ is a collection of 14 short films produced by 14 different individuals.

Omnibus is the cheapest way to make films, said Kaung Sint, director of ‘’Oh! Sweet Moonlight of Mine,’’ one of the 14 short films. There’s no cost as such – no cost of lighting, no need to buy equipment etc, he explained.

“I came to know about omnibus after attending an ASEAN film development project in 2015 in Japan. It was new for me. I shared this idea with my friends and tried to apply it here in Myanmar,” said Kaung Sint.

When he collected the transcripts of the 14 short films from his friends, almost all of them belonged to the same genre – psycho-thriller – hence the title ‘’Psycho Zero.’’

Director Moses Marks (standing, second from right) and his crew pose on the sets of “Her”, one of the 14 short films featuring in the ‘’Psycho Zero’’ package. Photo - Twitter Director Moses Marks (standing, second from right) and his crew pose on the sets of “Her”, one of the 14 short films featuring in the ‘’Psycho Zero’’ package. Photo - Twitter

He explained that most people had misunderstandings about the omnibus film, because many directors are involved in making long films together, but the omnibus concept is a mix of various short films with different ideas by different directors.

Director Moore Thit Sett Htoon’s four-minute short film based on his poem was shot six months ago. It featured abstract style art where a poet is influenced by another man but actually the other man does not exist in real life.

“I shot it with the help of my friend in my house and since it cost nothing, I played the main character – poet – in the movie. I did not face any difficulties as I did the transcript but now I feel excited, anxious to learn the audience’s response to this first omnibus film,” said Moore Thit Sett Htoon.

Female director Nay Chi Myat Noe Wint also chipped in. She directs a five-minute-long film depicting the thoughts and fears of a girl living alone titled ‘’Home Alone.’’

Her friend helped, by portraying the central character, and it took her two days to shoot the film and another four to edit it.

“Each short film tells about the directors’ inside thoughts. It is a first of its kind in Myanmar,” said Nay Chi Myat Noe Wint.

The fifth Human Rights Human Dignity International film festival runs June 14-19 at Waziya and Junction City cinemas. Entrance is free.