MEMORY! Film Schools

This year, the festival launches a new program within the 2nd edition. In order to involve and sensitize the future generation of filmmakers, we will welcome each year students from a film school in Asia to attend the festival, to learn about the different aspects and stakes of film heritage, to discover a wide range of classics and meet artists and professionals working in the film industry. In 2014, the Yangon Film School in Burma is the Guest school of the festival within this new program. It was selected notably because this film school started in 2013 a “Myanmar Cinema Heritage Project” aimed at preservin some of the country’s cinematic gems and enabling in 2014 the restoration of Ché Phawa Daw Nu Nu / Tender are the Feet.

Sai KONG KHAM – 29 ans – Filmmaker

Sai Kong Kham is a filmmaker based in Yangon. He began his career as a documentary filmmaker in 2011. He has been involved in several award-winning films as a sound recordist. He made is directing debut with a short documentary called “Sweetie Pie” which has also won award in local film festival. Now he is working on variety of film projects as director and producer.

Thet SU – 35 ans – Editor

Thet Su came to Yangon from Thanbyuzyat in Mon State in 1998 to take up studies in religion and feminism at the Myanmar Institute of Theology. A physics graduate, she joined the Myanmar Baptist Convention in 1999, where I now works as an editor. My own experience as a single mother may well have influenced my choice to depict the world of women in my two workshop films The Bag and My Family, both of which I am directed and edited.

Khin MAUNG KYAW – 27 ans – Filmmaker

Khin Maung Kyaw is a filmmaker & director originally from Thanbyuzayat but currently based in Yangon. He began his career as a documentary filmmaker in 2011 and since then his work has gained notoriety for camera style with several of his films winning prizes in local films festivals. Since 2011, he has shot over 15 films and directed one film which won a prize for directing during a documentary festival held in Yangon.

Wai Mar NYUNT – 37 ans – Student at Yangon
Film School

Zaw Win HTWE – 44 ans - Filmmaker

Zaw Win Htwe is an editor and filmmaker based in Yangon. He started his career as a feature film editor in 2000. Later, in 2009, he focused on documentary filmmaking and editing. Since then, he has been deeply involved in several documentaries directed and produced in Myanmar. Many of the films he has edited have been selected for various film festivals and won awards.

Standing l-r: Sound Tutor Ivan Horák - Directing/sound student War War Hlaing - Student trainer Thiha Thwe - Protagonist Yi Yi Myint - Camera Tutor Lars Barthel - Project Coordinator Helke Schuchhardt - Post-production Tutor David Smith - Camera student Khin Maung Kyaw - Student trainer Pe Maung Same
Kneeling l-r: Student trainer Shin Daewe - School Director Lindsey Merrison - Sound student Ju Ju Than - Camera student Isaac

About Yangon Film School

Founded by Anglo-Burmese filmmaker Lindsey Merrison in 2005, the Yangon Film School (YFS) is a Berlin-based non-profit organisation that was created in order to support and encourage a burgeoning community of young media workers in Myanmar. Since its first pioneering residential workshop held in Yangon in 2005, the school’s trainings, and its cinematic output, have gone from strength to strength.

YFS regularly brings together experienced filmmakers from around the world and young Burmese men and women, some of whom have little or no prior experience in media, for regular film trainings in Yangon, Myanmar on all aspects of filmmaking – from screenwriting to editing – but with a particular emphasis on the documentary.

In almost nine years of activity, YFS has held over 35 workshops and trained some 90 students from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds; amazingly, almost 80% of these students are still working in the media today. The school’s trainings have also resulted in almost 90 documentary and docufiction works that capture some of the compelling stories that abound in this little known country. Many YFS titles are now being screened to acclaim at international film festivals and a growing number – such as A Sketch of Wathone, Again and Again, Behind the Screen, Empty Nest, The Bamboo Grove and Nargis – when time stopped breathing (Myanmar’s first feature-length documentary) – are also winning awards.

The school made its first forays into fictional filmmaking in 2008; known at YFS as ‘true fictions’, this training programme, which has a strong documentary influence, has produced amongst other titles the first short drama ever to be made in Hakha Chin language – Bungkus. Since 2009, in preparation for the eventual handover to Burmese administration, YFS has been implementing teach-to-train and management training programmes to enable our graduates to pass on their skills to their peers.

In addition to its trainings, the school’s production arm Yangon Film Services regularly creates films for local and international non-governmental and civil society organisations based in Myanmar. Filmed at locations all over the country – from Kachin state in the north to the Ayeyarwaddy Delta and Mon state in the south – and covering an astonishing array of topics, these works represent an invaluable tool for development organisations.

The year 2013 marked the launch of the school’s Myanmar Cinema Heritage Project; the restoration of Ché Phawa Daw Nu Nu / Tender are the Feet (which premiered at the Berlinale in February 2014) marks the school’s first effort to preserve some of the country’s cinematic gems.

As Myanmar reforms, the Yangon Film School aims to expand its curriculum, find and fund a permanent home – possibly in one of Yangon’s heritage buildings – and reach out via a travelling cinema programme to remoter communities in this multi-ethnic country.

Hailed by its partners as a ‘milestone in capacity building’ the Yangon Film School – Myanmar’s only film school – is spearheading the creation of a vibrant and diverse media culture in Myanmar that will support the country’s transition to a democratic state. Beginners’ courses in documentary take place every other year. Candidates for courses in 2014 are welcome to submit applications on a rolling basis.