Published on Thursday, 20 June 2013 21:38
On the eve of her birthday, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was not at home. She was surrounded by a distinguished audience as she announced awards at the closing ceremony of Myanmar's first ever human rights film festival.
The Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival is the latest to test the boundaries of freedom of expression in Myanmar, featuring many young local film makers for the first time. Guests and film-makers gathered at the Traders Hotel in Yangon on Wednesday as the jury handed out a series of awards for local and international films.
"A film can have many impacts. As the winners of this film festival are youths, this shows the strength of their spirit. Youth are very important for the good of a country. So for the youth to show their creativity and insights means that I was not wrong to believe in them," said Aung San Suu Kyi.
Yee Nan Theik was presented the Aung San Suu Kyi Award for his feature documentary about the ordeals suffered by political prisoner San Zaw Htway, who was released last year after 12 years in jail.
The Min Ko Naing Award was handed to Myanmar Treasure Media for their film "White & Green" on a child's intense longing to go to school as he works in a busy teashop.
The Czech Republic Award was given to Maung Aye Chan for his film "Go Home", which documents the lives of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand who rely on rubbish dumps for their survival.
Maung San received the NBC Award for his short film "Rights" questioning what human rights meant for the common citizen. Swuan Thura Tun received the March 13 Award for his animated film, "The Chess".
As for the international films, a Special Jury Award was given to "Red Wedding", a Cambodian documentary about a woman forced to marry to a soldier from the Khmer Rouge. "The Act of Killing" also received an award for its portrayal of the mass killings by the Indonesian death squads in the 1960s.
The Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival was held in Yangon from June 16 till June 18, featuring over 40 local and international films. The festival received around 3000 visitors per day and many of the audience actively participated in question and answer sessions after the screenings.
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