The Art of Documentary Filmmaking
by Lindsey Merrison
color, 120 min, 2005
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At the end of 2005, Anglo-Burmese filmmaker Lindsey Merrison brought together eight tutors well-versed in documentary from Europe and Australia with twelve young Burmese men and women for a three-week workshop entitled "The Art of Documentary Filmmaking." The venue was a quiet hotel in Myanmar's capital, Yangon. The Burmese participants had little or no prior knowledge of filming stories from real life. A task that would have been daunting in any country posed a particular challenge in autocratic Myanmar, where documenting reality is a risky undertaking for those on both sides of the camera.
All the more remarkable then, that, 21 days later, the participants on this residential course had learned how to handle the equipment, grappled with the artistic and ethical aspects of the genre, and researched, wrote, and filmed four short documentary portraits inspired by the subject of "Women in Myanmar." The greatest achievement of the event could well have been the impetus and direction it gave to these budding filmmakers, all of whom are already developing new projects.
The DVD features the four final films made by the participants. It also includes the participants' first film exercise and a video diary chronicling the workshop itself. Together, these works provide a vibrant record of a surprisingly rewarding encounter.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Society for Visual Anthropology/AAA Conference, Washington DC, 2007 (Again and Again, Peace of Mind)
Association for Asian Studies Conference, Boston, MA, 2008
Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival, Germany, 2008