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BURMA VJ: REPORTING
FROM A CLOSED COUNTRY
USA: Oscilloscope Pictures
UK: Dogwoof Pictures / The Co-operative
Director: Anders Østergaard
Language: Burmese (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 84 mins
UK Certificate: 12A contains real violence and images of dead bodies
USA Release Date: 20 May 2009 (Limited Release - New York)
UK Release Date: 17 July 2009
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Anders Østergaard, this award winning, powerful and shocking documentary provides a unique glimpse into life on the streets of Burma's capital, Rangoon. The vast majority of the film consists of illegal footage using concealed cameras. BURMA VJ: REPORTING FROM A CLOSED COUNTRY, reveals this hidden world, seen through the eyes of the undercover VJs (Video Journalists) who document everyday life under a military regime.
Filmed over a number of days, the VJs by chance end up recording the appalling treatment of the Burmese citizens and monks, which caused a global uproar, after their peaceful protests resulted in violent opposition by their government.
The Burmese VJs risk torture, imprisonment and even death in their quest to report honestly what is going on in their closed country. The material in this film has been made possible through illegal smuggling and broadcast to international media (whom the government accuses of lying) and into Burma via satellite. The film not only exposes the threat the government faces from the camera wielding VJs but also the day-to-day hardships faced by the Burmese.
Independent film distributor Dogwoof has teamed up with The Co-operative to release BURMA VJ in the UK. Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals and Sustainability, explains The Co-operative's motivation for supporting this film:
"People put their lives on the line to get this footage out of Burma in the hope that the world would take notice. News stories come and go, but the oppression in Burma is as bad as anywhere on the planet, and we mustn't turn a blind eye".
Awards: Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Editing Award at this year's Sundance Film.