Khaw Than: A Call in Need is a 3 month film tour in Myanmar organised by EngageMedia. The tour, consisting of screenings and discussions, will be held in Yangon and Mandalay and features a collection of films about the rise of minority rights and interfaith issues.
Over the past few years, minority groups in Myanmar have been victim to increases in discrimination resulting in fear, violence and a regional refugee crisis. Despite the end of military dictatorship and more attention from the international media, the situation is not improving. To aid in this outreach to the media, many filmmakers based in Myanmar have produced documentaries aimed at the international market.
EngageMedia decided to join in this advocacy effort to foster an understanding of minority rights issues by holding a total of 6 film screenings in the country as well as highlighting the issues through an online campaign.
The first screening took place in collaboration with Phandeeyar at their office on the 26 October. We made an open call to those interested within the community and over 80 people attended.
The films that were screened included works that have been selected and awarded at multiple international film festivals and focus on issues including minority rights and war, children’s rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights as well as interfaith films. Ma Su of EngageMedia stated that the diverse selection of films is meant to cater to a wide range of issues and audiences. All screenings were followed by discussions with the filmmakers.
The first film was Thet Oo Maung’s ‘Sound of Silence’ awarded at the Gerona Film Festival in Spain. The film focuses on an old retired soldiers experiences in the civil war and includes very dramatic and exciting footage. Maung shared his experiences in making the film with the audience and discussed sympathy for the victims of war.
Lei Lei Aye, the director of ‘My Mother is Single’ led a riveting discussion on her ideas of women’s roles in Myanmar society. ‘My Mother is Single’ was produced by Turning Tables Myanmar and received recognition at Wathnn Film Festival.
The third film shown was ‘A Letter from Civil War’ directed by Lin Thet Naung, it depicts a child’s life in an IDP camp in Kachin. This film was also selected for the Wathnn Film Festival in 2013.
Ko Aung Win Htut from Phandeeyar said that the screening “is an affirmation of the hard work put in by the younger generation in the film industry here. It’s a film series Myanmar should be proud of”.