Burma’s independence day in January next year will be marked with the launch of a film festival organised by two of the country’s leading pro-democracy luminaries, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and comedian Zarganar.
Billed as the Art of Freedom Film Festival, it will open on 31 December and showcase both short films and documentaries. Suu Kyi is due to present awards to the festival’s winners on Independence Day on 4 January.
“The main theme is the idea that art can be created only when there is freedom, and film makers are to define freedom in their piece in whichever way they see it,” Zarganar, who was recently released from prison, told DVB.
He added that a number of entries were also likely to focus on the day Burma achieved independence after nearly a century of British rule. “Our main focus is about freedom and it doesn’t matter if they talk about history or not,” he said.
Also helping to organise the festival is former award-winning Burmese actor and director Kyaw Thu, whom since being banished from the film world has headed the highly-praised Free Funeral Service Society. The three will be joined by fellow film director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi.
Zarganar, who served three years of a 35-year sentence after criticising the Burmese government’s woeful response to Cyclone Nargis in 2008, said he will be entering his own film focusing on the life of Thiri Thudhamma Khin Kyi, the wife of Burmese independence hero General Aung San and mother of Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi herself is the subject of French director Luc Besson’s latest offering, The Lady, which stars Michelle Yeoh and which yesterday opened the Rome film festival.