08 Dec Moving pictures

Written by Yola Verbruggen Published in Art & Culture Read 3033 times

A “Docs & Talks” premiere at Pansodan Scene


Photo: Yola Verbruggen

The first of what promises to be another interesting series of social events organised by Pansodan Scene took place on November 26 in the companion space of the Pansodan Gallery. After the ‘Let’s Speak Art’, documentary filmmakers are being given further opportunity to show their work.

The ‘Docs & Talks’ program will feature the screening of a documentary at least once a month in the art gallery on the middle block of Pansodan Street, followed by a talk with the filmmaker.

The organisers say they want to create a space where people would watch documentaries together, instead of at home by themselves.

Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi kicked off ‘Docs & Talks’ with the Myanmar premiere of her film, ‘Dreams of Dutiful Daughters.’

The documentary highlights the plight of Myanmar women trying to make a living in Thailand as migrant workers. Most of them work illegally in Thailand and many have lost their Myanmar identity papers. Statelessness puts them in an extremely vulnerable position and many women migrant workers are subjected to violence by their employers and the authorities.

“Every day, rape, murder and torture still occur at the Thai-Burma border; we need to address this issue,” Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi said after the screening.

“Since Burma has opened up, we talk only in technical terms like development and democratisation, we never talk about human terms,” she said.

Much of the documentary focused on the prevalence of HIV-AIDS among migrant workers along the border. Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi spoke to about 600 women on the border and of those featured in the documentary, some told of the fears and struggles they encountered after learning they had contracted HIV. Some of those women have since died.

Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi, a social and cultural anthropologist at oxford University, made the documentary as part of her research while undertaking a PhD at the Australian National University. The energetic filmmaker has no intention of spending her life in the halls of academia.

“I don’t want to be an academic sitting in an office and writing research papers that nobody reads,” Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi told her audience at Pansodan Scene. “I want to be something,” she said.

The series second screening of the ‘Docs & Talks’ program is “Emerging Women of Burma”, a documentary made by the We Women Foundation based in Chiang Mai. It depicts the lives of seven women in Myanmar who are working to improve women’s rights and human rights.

Doors usually open at 6.30 for the 7pm screening.

This Article first appeared in the December 4, 2014 edition of Mizzima Business Weekly.

Mizzima Business Weekly is available in print in Yangon through Innwa Bookstore and through online subscription at www.mzineplus.com