Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Mid
    Mid is offline
    Thailand Expat
    Mid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    1,413

    'Burma VJs: Reporting From a Closed Country' -- Filmmaking at Its Incendiary Best

    'Burma VJs: Reporting From a Closed Country' -- Filmmaking at Its Incendiary Best
    By Russ Wellen
    May 09, 2009

    Technically, Burma's 2007 Saffron Revolution wasn't saffron. The term was coined out of deference to the saffron-yellow robes that Buddhist monks in Asia usually wear. The robes of Burmese monks' robes are, in fact, plum colored (the better to hide the blood?).

    The Saffron Revolution was triggered by Burma's military dictatorship when it took the International Money Fund and its trademark "structural adjustment program," as well as the World Bank's advice, a little too literally. In one bold stroke, the junta, which has been ruling Burma with the proverbial iron fist since 1962, stopped subsidizing fuel. Prices rose at least 50%.

    Imagine the chaos that would ensue if the United States Government pulled a stunt like that? Triple the effects on a semi-impoverished state like Burma.

    As revolutionaries have a way of doing, the activists who initiated the 2007 protests leveraged economic mismanagement into a general call for reform. In the Southeast Asian tradition of Buddhist activism, monks soon joined in and gave the movement a shot in the arm. Also, they really hit the junta where it lives when many of the monks marched with their traditional alms bowls monks held upside down.

    Thus did they signal that any donations the military gave them would be refused by the monks, whose blessings the regime relied on for whatever sense of legitimacy they could squeeze out of it. In retrospect, one wonders if severing the military from any pretense of a spiritual life freed it to act with even fewer ethical constraints than normally. Though, in fact, some in the military, including at least one of the ruling junta's twelve generals, refused to cooperate in stamping out the demonstrations.
    At the peak of the protests, the streets of Yangon and other cities filled with 100,000 people. Soon, though, the junta rounded up the monks -- on the streets by day and in monasteries by night -- and detained and even killed some. Soon the junta broke the back of the Saffron Revolution.

    While the demonstrations were in progress, access to Burma was denied to foreign news crews by the junta. Into the the void jumped the Democratic Voice of Burma, a collective of 30 Burmese video journalists (VJs) determined to keep the world informed of events in Burma while also trying to retain their anonymity, lest they be imprisoned and even tortured. Burma VJs: Reporting From a Closed Country by director Anders Østergaard from Norway, where DVB is based, is their story.

    The film is narrated by one of the VJs, code-named Joshua, who, early in the movement, is "made" by the Burmese authorities. He escapes to Thailand, where he acts as coordinator for the crew, who smuggle their footage across the border to him. From there it's transmitted to Norway, where the DVB disperse it to the footage-starved BBC and CNN.

    The director is forthcoming about staging Joshua's scenes. Variety wrote that they "help to fill in the gaps, although some may grumble that it undermines pic's status as a journalistic document of fact." In fact, with their low lighting, these scenes are unassuming and critical to continuity.
    Meanwhile, the DJs' mini-cams drop the the viewer into the streets. You may have experienced this before with news footage or YouTube clips of Nepal in 2006 or Seattle in 1999. But not to this extent. In the beginning, despite the ubiquity of security, especially in plain clothes, flash mobs unfurl banners right smack in the middle of a marketplace and voice their protests.

    At the time, geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl wrote:
    Myanmar's "Saffron Revolution", like the Ukraine "Orange Revolution" or the Georgia "Rose Revolution". . . is a well-orchestrated exercise in Washington-run regime change, down to the details of "hit-and-run" protests with "swarming" mobs of monks in saffron, Internet blogs, mobile SMS links between protest groups, well-organized protest cells which disperse and re-form.

    [The population] "is being used as a human stage prop in a drama scripted in Washington by. . . US intelligence asset[s]. . . to spark "non-violent" regime change. . . on behalf of the US strategic agenda [which includes use] of the strategic sea lanes from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea."
    Of course, that does nothing to detract from the legitimacy of the Burmese cause. Useful to each other, perhaps Washington and Burmese dissidents might best characterize their relationship as "Who's zooming who?"

    As the demonstrations escalate, Buddhist monks march as far as the eye can see. They and the students are met by the Burmese army, which surrounds and, at critical moments, opens fire on them. In one frightening scene, soldiers chase students and a VJ, his camera stashed in a bag at this point, up the stairs of a building while shooting at them.

    After the crackdown, many of the monks dissolved into the countryside and some managed to find refuge in the U.S. and join the Burmese emigrant community here. At the special screening in Manhattan, a Q&A followed with the director and three of the Buddhist monks who were at the forefront of the movement. One, seen in the film rallying his fellows in thundering tones with a megaphone, had reverted back to a gentle Buddhist monk again, lending his cause just as much gravitas as did his activism.

    Trying to find fault with Burma VJs is no mean feat. Forced to, here's one -- Joshua's frequent use of the word "shooting." It can be difficult to determine if he's referring to the military shooting protesters with their guns or his crew shooting the protests with their cameras. That's about it.

    Random impressions. . . Practically on the street with the protesters, at times you want to reach out and pull them from the danger. . . Disdain for the junta is dripping from those lining Yangon's broad boulevards as well as those looking on from apartment balconies. Imagine how difficult it must be to rule a country in which nobody likes you but those in your employ.

    At one point, Joshua remarks: "I think I want to fight for democracy. But I think we better make a longer plan."

    But it's already been a long time -- 47 years. Watching the film it's natural to wonder how best the United States can help. With our motives suspect, it might not be a good idea for us to intervene directly beyond sanctions. Even they're of questionable value.

    At the screening, DVB deputy executive director Khin Maung Win commented that the 100-plus that the junta killed in the Saffron Revolution represent an improvement over the 3,000 in the 1988 uprising. It would be sad to think such incremental progress is the best Burma can expect.

    Trailing a string of national awards behind it, Burma VJs will play in New York City's Film Forum from May 20 to June 2.

    newshoggers.com/blog

  2. #2
    Mid
    Mid is offline
    Thailand Expat
    Mid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    1,413

  3. #3
    Found it!
    bustak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Last Online
    02-01-2017 @ 04:39 PM
    Location
    Fiji
    Posts
    1,711
    this looks great, thanks for letting us know!

  4. #4
    Found it!
    bustak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Last Online
    02-01-2017 @ 04:39 PM
    Location
    Fiji
    Posts
    1,711
    I just got finished watching this movie. SUPERB! I recommend this to anyone with a bit of interest in the situation in Burma.

    I think the editing was superb, I'm sure whoever put this piece together had hours upon hours to use, but they managed to pick the footage that really drove the story home, along w/ the voice over. I also have to mention the many brave people who shot this footage, along w/ the people who smuggled it out of Burma, what a hell hole!

    It was cool, most of the Thailand footage was shot in downtown Chiang Mai.
    "I'm never gonna work another day in my life
    The gods told me to relax
    They said I'm gonna be fixed up right
    "
    Monster Magnet

  5. #5
    Mid
    Mid is offline
    Thailand Expat
    Mid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    1,413
    Burma VJ makes Oscars doc shortlist
    Thu 19 Nov 2009



    The Beaches of Agnes and Burma VJ are among the 15 films to have made the shortlist for the best documentary at next year's Oscars ceremony.

    But there was no room for Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story, the year's highest grossing documentary, or crowd favourites such as The September Issue and Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

    In announcing the shortlist, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said that a total of 89 films had been considered for selection.

    The shortlist is comprised of: The Cove; Food, Inc.; Valentino: The Last Emperor; Every Little Step; Facing Ali; Garbage Dreams; Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders; The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers; Mugabe and the White African; Sergio; Soundtrack for a Revolution; Under Our Skin, and Which Way Home.

    Only five nominees will emerge as the main award front-runners from the shortlist when the Oscar nominations are announced on 2 February, 2010. The awards ceremony takes place on 7 March.

    web.orange.co.uk

  6. #6
    Mid
    Mid is offline
    Thailand Expat
    Mid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    1,413
    Jailed cameraman wins top media award
    Reporting by DVB

    Nov 20, 2009 (DVB)–Two Burmese cameramen who filmed an acclaimed documentary on the aftermath of Burma’s cyclone Nargis have received a top media award, although it is revealed that one of them is now in prison.

    Following the cyclone last year, the two cameramen, known only as ‘Z’ and ‘T’, who work for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), evaded military officials who had barred all reporters from entering Burma’s southern Irrawaddy delta and documented a group of children orphaned by the storm.

    The resulting film, ‘Orphans of the Storm’, was first shown in Britain earlier this year as part of Channel 4’s investigatory Dispatches programme.

    Receiving the Rory Peck Features Award in London last night on behalf of ‘T’ and ‘Z’, DVB’s Myo Min Naing revealed that one of the two had been arrested earlier this year.

    “I’m sorry to give bad news in these glorious times, but T was arrested four months ago,” he said.

    “Perhaps he will get 10 to 15 years imprisonment. I am really sorry to deliver this message to the audience.”
    He added that he was grateful to Rory Peck Trust for the award, which honours cameramen working in dangerous environments, “to encourage my colleagues and those who are struggling in prison to promote journalism”.

    Speaking to DVB yesterday, ‘Z’ said that the project had been difficult and dangerous in light of a government announcement that the use of photography or video in the delta would be seen as a criminal offence.

    “Security was the biggest concern for us; it was risky to go to a same location twice,” he said.

    “Authorities could be aware that you were in a place and likely to be there again after you had released news about it.”


    In deciding the Rory Peck Award winner, one of the panel judges said: "Despite all the dangers, they still created a film narrative – it was a journey for each of the individual families – and you went on that journey with them."


    The award ceremony coincided with an Oscar nomination for another documentary film involving DVB cameramen, 'Burma VJ'.

    The film, which documents journalists reporting on the September 2007 monk-led uprising in Burma, and is directed by Danish film maker Anders Ostergaard, has already received 33 international awards.
    english.dvb.no

  7. #7
    Mid
    Mid is offline
    Thailand Expat
    Mid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    1,413
    Burmese VJs risking lives for freedom
    Khin Maung Win

    Nov 30, 2009 (DVB)–It is unlikely that ‘T’ knows that he is being honoured and celebrated around the world these days.


    ‘T’, along with his colleague ‘Z’, shot video images that were made into ‘Orphans of Burma’s Cyclone’, a documentary film that last week won the prestigious Rory Peck Trust Feature Award. Hopefully, one day ‘T’ and ‘Z’ will celebrate together. Instead, today, ‘T’ languishes in the notorious Insein prison in Rangoon, and ‘Z’ is in hiding.

    The searing images of the 2007 monk protests in Burma made it onto television screens around the world thanks to the courage of underground videojournalists (VJs) who risked their lives to document the inspiring and tragic events of the protest, also known as the Saffron Revolution.

    The murder of a Japanese journalist by Burmese troops on 27 September 2007 at the height of the Saffron Revolution, caught on tape by VJs, made headlines around the world. As a result of the continuous, rapid dissemination of images, the Burmese military regime realized the world was watching. This was the key factor in ensuring that the death toll from the 2007 protests was closer to 100 than 3000, the number brutally murdered by the regime when it put down the 1988 nationwide uprising.

    Just months after the violent repression of the Saffron Revolution, ‘T’ and ‘Z’ along with other VJs, played a key role in filming the worst natural disaster in Burmese history, cyclone Nargis, which hit lower Burma on 2 May 2008. The disaster left 140,000 dead and 2.5 million homeless, in the face of inaction and indifference by the military regime. The regime denied access to international humanitarian and rescue workers, as well as foreign journalists.

    Official media in the country reported nothing of the impact of the disaster, but images of the scale and extent of the damage captured and dispatched by courageous VJs appeared in mainstream media around the world. The VJs’ images rendered indisputable the desperate and immediate need for humanitarian aid. The US, UK and France invoked the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, and sent their naval ships into Burmese waters. Finally, the regime agreed to accept international humanitarian aid, which resulted in countless saved lives.

    For six months after the cyclone hit, knowing the significant risks involved, ‘Z’ and ‘T’ followed a group of children orphaned by the cyclone. It is that footage that was edited into a documentary, and that won them the Rory Peck award.


    The journalists have paid a high price for this award, which honours Rory Peck, killed while filming the 1993 siege of the Russian parliament. Peck’s wife, Juliet, and friends created the Rory Peck Trust, which has shone a light this year on the role of VJs working for DVB. That role is compellingly drawn in ‘Burma VJ’, the extraordinary, award-winning film that has been shortlisted for the 2009 Oscars. The film engages the protests through the eyes of DVB VJs, from the high of protesters amassing by the thousands, to the low of life-threatening raids by the Burmese troops.


    In addition to the honour of this recent award, and the organization’s spotlight in Burma VJ, DVB has received the highest of compliments from the Burmese regime, which has publicly denounced DVB as the worst media. It claims that DVB widely disseminates false news and information about Burma. Less benignly, the regime conducted a comprehensive crackdown on the DVB journalist network in the aftermath of the Saffron Revolution. At present, more than a dozen DVB VJs are serving prison terms, some as long as 65 years.


    The cost incurred by these VJs raises ethical questions about underground assignments by DVB, which the media organization asks itself daily. But the answer to those questions lies in the stories of the VJs themselves.


    One of the journalists working for the network inside Burma is a former political prisoner from Myinchan prison in central Burma. He assumed that Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch would have publicized the torture and death of several dozen political prisoners, or the many others who developed mental illness as a result of extreme torture in that prison in the mid-1990s. But when he was released, he realized that the information blackout imposed by the regime blocks even these cases from coming to light. His choice to be a pioneer, helping to establish the DVB network across the country, is based on this experience.


    As Joshua, the main character in Burma VJ, says, young Burmese starving for freedom believe that the absence of free media prolongs military rule and the suffering of the people. These young people played a major role in filming and reporting the Saffron Revolution. Their work has not only diminished the death toll, but also ensured timely responses from the international community, a rarity in the past.


    This international response to the images has resulted in an ongoing hunt by the regime for DVB VJs. ‘T’ was arrested four months ago and charged under the Electronics Act, which allows for prison terms of up to 15 years for filming and sending information out of the country.


    Aung San Suu Kyi has said “there are two prisons in Burma - one with walls, and another without.” DVB VJs have chosen to risk imprisonment within the walls of terrifying places like Insein in order to battle the nefarious prison without walls that Burma has become for its people. ‘T’, ‘Z’ and their fellow DVB VJs have become some of Burma’s, and the world’s, most important and courageous freedom fighters. For that alone, the Rory Peck award is well-deserved.


    Khin Maung Win is deputy executive director of the Democratic Voice of Burma


    english.dvb.no


  8. #8
    Mid
    Mid is offline
    Thailand Expat
    Mid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    1,413
    Burma VJ DVD review
    Michael Leader
    Jan 26, 2010

    A fascinating, important documentary, and one that manages to highlight just how powerful the media can be.

    Michael reviews Burma VJ...


    Before you read this, you might like to know that Burma VJ airs on True Stories tonight at 10pm on More4.

    denofgeek.com

  9. #9
    Mid
    Mid is offline
    Thailand Expat
    Mid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    1,413
    The courage of clandestine video journalists
    KAVI CHONGKITTAVORN
    3 May 2010


    A video still from the film, Burma VJ

    On 27 September 2007, the international community was shocked to see the video clip of Kenji Nagai, a Japanese video journalist, shot dead by a Burmese soldier on the streets of Rangoon. For weeks, the brutal death of this journalist was broadcast repeatedly, reminding us of the danger faced by journalists reporting the news.

    This famous clip was clandestinely filmed from a rooftop by a young Burmese video journalist (VJ) working for Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). He was able to send the clip almost immediately via a portable satellite to his headquarters in Oslo, norway. Within two hours, the incident went global, with TV news networks splashing their news bulletins with this image.

    Meanwhile the Burmese junta leaders tried in vain to figure out how the clip penetrated their solid wall of censorship.

    The shooting and attacking of journalists and VJs is not restricted to Burma.

    Video clips and photos taken by amateurs who were in the right place at the right time take us behind the walls of these fortified countries, by using their camera phones or mini video cameras to record events. However, to film secretly and report news professionally undercover in a country controlled by one of the world’s most brutal military juntas is a different story.

    As the video clip of Nagai demonstrated, it required a well-trained journalist who can capture the news without being captured himself. Video journalists now fill the important gap, replacing a news vacuum behind the iron curtain of dictatorship. DVB trains video journalists before they go into the field undetected and unrecognised, even by their colleagues.

    To do their jobs, they are armed with mini video cameras, satellite phones and other new media technology. In addition, they are also trained to survive in hostile environments. However, even minor carelessness could put one’s own life and those of others in jeopardy. A young female DVB journalist was recently jailed in Burma for 27 years for simply reporting the news.

    Exiled journalist communities from Iran, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Gambia, North Korea, Tibet, Tunisia, Belarus and Uzbekistan are now sharing each other’s experience. Facing the same restrictions at home – news bans and no access to information – these exiled communities are following in the footsteps of their Burmese colleagues, who are well-versed in using new media technologies, coupled with personal versatility to get fresh news out.

    Iranian journalists have benefited from the experience of Burmese VJs, who were featured in the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary, Burma VJ. With the protests following the disputed Iran elections in 2009, the internet was flooded with video clips taken by mobile phones and mini video cameras.

    VJs are now flourishing in many countries. Underground reporters inside North Korea have also increased. Using smuggled phones from China, they report the news to exiled radio stations based in China and South Korea. Underground journalists from Zimbabwe managed to smuggle video clips and news reports out of the country after Mugabe’s government censured any reporting of the news.

    International news organisations are far less likely to put their own journalists in such jeopardy, and over the coming decade, the VJ will become a vital cog in the 24/7 newsreel, supplying news and images to publishers, broadcasters and exiled communities alike.

    The international community owes a lot to these courageous and faceless journalists, who constantly risk their lives to report the news.

    Kavi Chongkittavorn is a respected journalist and current chair of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance in Bangkok. With more than twenty years experience reporting on human rights and press freedom issues in Southeast Asia, he writes on the everyday struggles of clandestine journalists who dare to report the news in countries afflicted by censorship. Using new media technologies such as camera phones, these brave journalists bring the news to the outside world. On World Press Freedom Day, 2010, Kavi writes for WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

    dvb.no

  10. #10
    Banned Muadib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    HELL
    Posts
    4,774
    I watched Burma VJ on the tube last week and it was excellent... Gives you a chill when you see the way the military attacked the protesters, which included Monks and foreigners... Especially with the current state of affairs in Bangkok...

  11. #11
    Mid
    Mid is offline
    Thailand Expat
    Mid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    1,413
    Obituary: Sam Kalayanee

    Most recently Sam co-produced an Oscar-nominated documentary film directed by Anders Østergaard which followed the September 2007 uprising against the Burmese military regime, “Burma VJ” (2009).

    http://teakdoor.com/thailand-and-asi...ml#post1545890 (Obituary: Sam Kalayanee)

  12. #12

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat
    Bower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Last Online
    17-06-2019 @ 06:40 PM
    Location
    South coast UK
    Posts
    3,016
    I shall watch all with interest. Thanks Mid, i am out of greens for you.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Chiang Mai
    Posts
    29,561
    Just had to ad this. On TD we, myself included, poke fun at the lack of brains in the stereotypical Thai. Sam Kalayanee was a friend of mine and was the antithesis of this stereotype. He was a thoughtful and selfless man, and did so much to expose injustice done to minority people all over Asia.

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat
    peterpan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Pleasantville
    Posts
    10,109
    The Film is available from demoniod

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •