Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sundance Films: Burma VJ

Title: Burma VJ
Director: Anders Ostergaard
Website: No website provided
Potential Major Release Date: No set release date, but HBO purchased the TV rights for the film.

Summary: Filmmaker Anders Ostergaard's gripping documentary profiles the courageous efforts of a renegade band of Burmese reporters who -- in the face of a repressive regime and media censorship -- refuse to be silenced. Calling themselves the Democratic Voice of Burma (aka the Burma VJs), these fierce "video warriors" place themselves in peril as they smuggle footage documenting their government's abuses across the border -- and to the world at large (NetFlix).

Thoughts: Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Editing Award, Burma VJ already has a leg up on other Sundance documentaries after signing with a major distributor (HBO). Ostergaard’s film has the story and intensity to be successful, but I worried the stories of those who filmed this oppression takes a back seat to a ‘call to action’ agenda. I loved War Tapes (which is roughly the same film premise, in that a director edits amateur footage), so I hope it follows that successful outline. If so, it’ll definitely be a powerful piece you can’t miss.

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