No story or film get ever gets published or screened in Burma without the censor’s nod, so it was a real feat that a film festival of uncensored films took place in Rangoon last week. And that no one had to pay for a ticket.
Guess which movie was the crowd’s favorite? One that ridicules the government’s censorship board.
188 films were submitted to the Art of Freedom Film Festival. 5 won awards. It was a powerful film about a photojournalist who vividly captured the 2007 violent crackdown on protesting monks that won the best documentary, reports the Irrawaddy, an online magazine on Burma published in northern Thailand.
The festival was organized by the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and comedian/activist Zarganar, who was released from prison last October along with dozens of dissidents as part of a general amnesty. After his release, he travelled to Bangkok and Phnom Penh to study filmmaking and prepare for the film festival.
Just being able to organize the film festival is proof that the Burmese government is allowing artists and filmmakers some space. But Zarganar says he is disappointed that his colleagues were not among those freed in last Tuesday’s
clemency of political prisoners.
“I expected that I would celebrate this film festival with my colleagues freed from prison, but now I wish to change this festival’s name to the Festival of Captivity,” he said.