On the hunt for the next oscar winning filmmaker in Asia!

Supporting the Singapore Myanmar Film Festival to help creative communities grow and expand in Asia

As a Project Manager and Business Developer at Gone Adventurin’, I get to travel a lot in South Asia in order to execute projects or to find new ones. Our company focuses on film content creation, so recently I attended theMemory Heritage Film Festival in Yangon in order to to see how we could help to grow the filmmaking communities in Myanmar.

Hall of Nay Pwi Taw Theater

This festival was created in 2012 and two main editions took place in Cambodia in June 2013 and June 2014. It’s a cinema event fully dedicated to the films of the past, unique in Asia. The goal of the festival is to raise people’s awareness about films conservation and restoration.

‘Films are endangered everywhere in the world if they are not well preserved (notably by respecting humidity and heat control). Over 90% of films around the world made before 1929 are lost forever, as well as half of all American films made before 1950.’

The main theme of the 2015 edition was ‘Women’. Therefore, women celebrities were invited for the occasion. The French actress Catherine Deneuve was the guest honour. The Kung-fu actresses Cheng Pei-Pei andMichelle Yeoh were also present; as well as Marrie Lee a.k.a Cleopatra Wong, a film directed by Bobby A. Suarez in 1978 that inspired Quentin Tarantino to make the Kill Bill series.

Cleopatra Wong — Directed by Bobby A. Suarez, Inspired Quentin Tarantino

What I learned from the Film Festival in Yangon

Not only the goal of the Memory Film Festival is to preserve old movies; but also to show them to a large audience of viewers in order not to forget them. Therefore, the festival was available and free admission for all. We were lucky to attend the grand opening during which the festival screening ‘The Young Girls of Rochefort’, a 1966 Jacques Demy film, featuring Catherine Deneuve and her sister Françoise Dorléac.

Everyday, the participants could either attend to movie screenings or masterclasses and workshops given by cinema experts, filmmakers, producers or actresses. The conferences aimed at educating the young Burmese communities around the world of cinema: from cultural references about classic wuxia movies to practical advice on how to best apply to Film Festivals.

Burmese people attending to old French movies screening

During my time there, we learned: (among other really interesting topics)

  • The evolution of women in cinema with Howard Besser, Professor Tisch NYU. Through this session, we realised that the first filmmaker was actually a woman — Alice Guy-Blaché.
  • How to write scripts with Gabrielle Kelly, Professor, Tisch Asia NYU;
  • How to maintain a successful relationship with your producer with the French Director, Olivier Assayas;
  • What it takes to act in wuxia movies with the actresses Cheng Pei-Peiand Michelle Yeoh;
  • How to best benefit from MPA — Motion Picture Association with Susan Lee.

The objective was to help young filmmakers to express their voice; not only through documentaries about political issues in Burma, but also through narrative films.

Right: Gabrielle Kelly; ‘Celluloid Ceiling’ her book about women filmmakers

Why we support the Myanmar-Singapore Film Festival

There are a lot of filmmakers in Myanmar who would like to distribute their films / documentaries locally and overseas. At the moment, these filmmakers face basic problems such as low access to data that prevent them from downloading their content on relevant platforms to apply to Film Festivals; or lack of funding.

In order to help the filmmaking communities in Asia, we decided to supportThe Singapore Myanmar Film Festival. This year, the SMFF is holding its second edition and will tap into a Burmese diaspora of 300,000 people based in Singapore. At the end of November, it will showcase talents of Singapore and Myanmar filmmakers around the common theme of ‘Tales of two Cities’.

The festival will welcome prestigious guests and jury such as Zarganar, or Gabrielle Kelly — Professor at Tisch Asia, NYU. Zarganar is the most popular satirist, actor and filmmaker in Myanmar. He has also been a political prisoner, known for his puns against the government.

Submit your films to the Singapore Myanmar Film Festival platform! We hope this festival will inspire young communities in Singapore and in Burma to raise their voice through content creation and storytelling.

SMFF Team explanation

Article written by Paula Miquelis — Project Manager @Gone Adventurin’.

Ashwin Subramaniam
No Comments

Post A Comment