The Art of Documentary Editing
by Lindsey Merrison
color, 120 min, 2006
After the success of the pioneering Art of Documentary Filmmaking workshop held in Yangon, Myanmar in 2005, Anglo-Burmese filmmaker Lindsey Merrison and four experienced documentary editors from Europe and Australia returned in 2006 to mount The Art of Documentary Editing. Some of the young Burmese men and women on this residential course had previous experience of editing but several had never touched an edit suite in their lives.
For one month, course participants and tutors worked side by side to shape eight short documentaries from material filmed by the participants prior to the workshop - often under difficult circumstances. Learning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their rushes, participants battled to create storylines and find the right rhythm for their films. Nerve-wracking screenings of works-in-progress before the whole group provided crucial feedback and helped these budding filmmakers to think about the form and content of all the films.
This DVD features all eight films produced during the Art of Documentary Editing workshop. It also contains a short film about the workshop itself, including comments from participants and tutors. Not only do these works reflect an intriguing range of subjects and approaches - from observational to experimental - they also reveal their creators' gradual appreciation of the subtleties of the documentary genre, as well as their growing confidence as filmmakers.
...are not as 9 min (dir. and sound: The Maw Naing, camera: Ko Yoe, Tin Win Naing, jeu, editor: Regina B)
The filmmaker uses documentary footage of his own performance as the starting point for a reflection on the relationship between poetry, the individual and society.
A Sketch of Wathone 15 min (dir. and editor: Kyi Phyu Shin, camera: Ko Yoe, sound: Lay Thida)
From the relative seclusion of his charmingly idiosyncratic home, Wathone - one of Myanmar's best-known painters - shares his thoughts about his life, his art and his family.
Into the Ring 11 min (dir: Aung Ko Ko, camera: Tin Win Naing, sound: Myo Min Khin, editor: Jessica Ehlebracht)
Hein Nyi Nyi is a Myanmar traditional boxer. As he travels 350 km north of his Yangon club to a match near the Sittaung river in Bago division, we learn what motivates this 18-year-old to risk life and limb in the ring.
A Million Threads 16 min (dir. and editor: Thu Thu Shein, camera: Pe Maung Same, Thu Thu Shein, sound: Lay Thida) The colourful record of a frenzied 24-hour all-female weaving competition at Yangon's Shwe Phone Pwint pagoda.
The Uninvited Guest 14 min (dir: Shin Daewe, camera: Ko Yoe, Pe Maung Same, sound: Lay Thida, Thu Thu Shein, editor: Pe Maung Same, Kim Moodie) A low-income family of seven tells the story of how tuberculosis would have decimated their family - had it not been for free treatment at a local clinic run by the NGO Population Services International Myanmar.
Like Father, Like Son 15 min (dir. and editor: Pe Maung Same, camera: Tin Win Naing, Pe Maung Same, sound: Aung Myint) Zaw Oo is standing at a crossroads. In order to prevent his centuries-old Rama troupe from dying out he must train the next generation of players. But how can he recommend the life of a poor Rama performer to his own son?
Just a Boy 13 min (dir. and editor: Lay Thida, camera: Thu Thu Shein, sound: Myo Min Khin)
Teenager Okka Moe spends his days collecting rubbish in downtown Yangon in order to help pay off his family's debt. A sensitive portrait of a caring boy who is stoical in spite of his lot in life.
Beyond the Light 13 min (dir. and sound: Myo Min Khin, camera: Aung Ko Ko, editor: Regina BSrtschi)
Guitarist and music teacher Kyaw Kyaw has been blind since birth. In this short film, he talks surprisingly candidly about his life and his perceptions of the world around him.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Roshd International Film Festival, Iran, 2007
Association for Asian Studies Conference, Boston, MA, 2008
Visions du Réel — International Film Festival, Nyon, France, 2008 (Million Threads)
Society for Visual Anthropology/American Anthropological Association Conference, San Francisco, 2008
Sydney Film Festival, 2008