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Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (2008)

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Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
Genre: Documentary, Political & Social Issues
Running Time: 84 min.
Languages: English, Burmese
Subtitles: English

Synopsis
The Southeast Asian nation of Burma (also known as Myanmar) has been under the control of a military dictatorship since a coup toppled the elected prime minister in 1962. With Burma's press and mass media under the control of the military government, dissent has had little opportunity to take hold in the country, but that began to chance in 2007; a band of Buddhist monks stepped forward to lead a revolt against the state, and as news spread about their actions, as many as 100,000 people took part in protests against the oppressive and violent leadership. The official state media ignored the uprising, but a new breed of reporters were at hand to cover the revolution -- the Democratic Voice of Burma, also known as the Burma VJs, a handful of young video journalists armed with hand-held digital video cameras. The Burma VJs filmed the protests as well as violent acts committed by police and military officials, and then smuggled the footage to colleagues in Thailand, who then passed their images on to news organizations the world over. Filmmaker Anders Østergaard offers a look at how new technology is pressed into the service of a people's revolution in Burma VJ, a documentary which tells the story of the Democratic Voice of Burma and their role in the battle for a free and democratic Burma. Burma VJ received its American premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, AMG




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