FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
The DVB Short Docs 2023 Awards celebrated emerging Myanmar documentary filmmakers with two of the 10 short documentary films in the contest winning prizes. My Notes to Spring, directed by *Zero, was awarded the Jury Prize. The Watchdog, directed by Eunt Maw Oo, was awarded the People’s Choice Award.
The awards ceremony was held at Chiang Mai University’s Communications Innovation Center on Dec. 20. One hundred distinguished guests from Myanmar, Thailand and around the world attended to watch all 10 DVB Short Docs. It was also live streamed on DVB English News Facebook.
The international jury included renowned British filmmaker Ali Fowle and Burmese filmmaker Na Gyi. They presented the award for “My Notes to Spring.” DVB Thailand Bureau Chief Mon Mon Myat handed the award to Zero.
My Notes to Spring documents the life of a man injured by homemade landmines meant to protect his family and community in the Sagaing Region. “This film shows the life of one ‘mine soldier’ who represents all revolutionaries that have become disabled by doing so,” said Zero.
The People’s Choice Award went to “The Watchdog” director Eunt Maw Oo. This film documents a collective of pro-democracy activists who monitor pro-military social media channels that call for the arrest of anyone who speaks out agains the military and its coup.
“At first I put my camera away after the [military] tried to arrest me, but when I saw the DVB announcement for the competition, I picked it up again. Thanks to the audience for voting. I’m determined to continue filming,” said Eunt Maw Oo.
The ceremony also featured a Talk Show on “The Role of Filmmakers In Documenting Truth” hosted by DVB News presenter *Khin Yupar.
The winner of the 2022 Jury Prize, X, Y, Z and then A director *Creatio, highlighted the challenges faced by filmmakers following the military coup, along with the threats to artistic freedom.
“The situation [on filming documentary] is really challenging for the creativity of the filmmakers. We can’t film freely and we have no budget either. Sometimes I, like other filmmakers, think about giving up making films. But, I am now pleased by emerging platforms like this DVB documentary contest,” said Creatio, wearing a mask to conceal his identity.
Most of Myanmar’s journalists and filmmakers fled the country over the last two years since the military coup. DVB data states that 172 media professionals, including journalists and filmmakers, have been arrested. Four journalists have been killed. 50 are currently facing trial in prison.
DVB, in collaboration with its international partners, initiated its documentary contest in 2022. The aim is to support documentary filmmakers impacted by the military coup and to help grow the country’s film industry.
“DVB is immensely proud of the ten filmmakers who documented Myanmar’s darkest times. This contest can also be said to be a program that highlights the great contribution of documentary filmmakers,” said Mon Mon Myat, the DVB Bureau Chief in Thailand.
*A pseudonym used for security reasons.