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Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country

2008 Documentary

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 more..

Director: Anders Østergaard

Reviews

  • Filmmaking at its most fearless, with Ostergaard creating a suspenseful, harrowing account of his original key subject, known only as "Joshua."

    Kevin Thomas - Los Angeles Times

    20 January 2013

  • Captivating and essential viewing.

    - Empire

    20 January 2013

  • A rich, thought-provoking film.

    A.O. Scott - The New York Times

    20 January 2013

  • Burma VJâ?? retorts that eyes and ears are everywhere in our ever-tightening global communications mesh. Voices, too, and they get heard. The generals and the ayatollahs have every right to be scared.

    Ty Burr - The Boston Globe

    20 January 2013

  • Thanks to the new guerrilla narrative, the world has a constant flow of images to file in its collective consciousness. And that camera-testable accountability slowly becomes a global civic right that fulfills the noblest purpose of journalism -- to bring truth to power.

    Desson Thomson - The Washington Post

    20 January 2013

Awards

  • Best Documentary, Features

    Academy Awards (2010)

     
  • Anders Østergaard

    Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival (2008)

  • Best Documentary (Bedste dokumentarfilm)

    Bodil Awards (2009)

  • Anders Østergaard

    Boulder International Film Festival (2009)

  • Best Documentary

    Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards (2009)