Wathann Film­fest: And the win­ner is... love

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse - NAN­DAR AUNG

S the cur­tains closed on the 7th edi­tion of the Wathann Film­fest on Mon­day, an over­ar­ch­ing theme emerged from the pool of over 70 films shown. Love.

In to­tal, there were 12 doc­u­men­taries, 16 short films and one ex­per­i­men­tal film fea­tured in the lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion over two days.

So­ci­ety’s most vul­ner­a­ble fea­tured at the cen­tre of many of the films in­clud­ing LGBT peo­ple, sex work­ers and un­doc­u­mented la­bor­ers.

“I watched all the films and liked most of them,” said Edo Vader, whose short an­i­ma­tion film Thaa Shin Pyu won the award for Best Short Film. “This fes­ti­val is in­de­pen­dent and the films here are suit­able for young peo­ple as they show so many sides of our so­ci­ety.”

Thaa Shin Pyu fol­lows a fa­ther and son re­la­tion­ship in the lead up to the young boy’s or­di­na­tion as a novice monk. Their re­la­tion­ship is rocked when the fa­ther meets un­ex­pected chal­lenges but even­tu­ally he re­cov­ers to be able to hold the com­ing of age cer­e­mony for his son.

Judges praised the 12-minute­long tear jerker for its cre­ativ­ity and the themes gen­eros­ity and hon­esty which are preva­lent through­out.

“This year’s fes­ti­val was full of love sto­ries. Gen­eros­ity and hon­esty is a foun­da­tion of film­mak­ing so I hope all film­mak­ers can carry themes through their films like this,” said Michael Zaw, one of the judges, on his se­lec­tion.

Director Edo Vader cre­ated Thaa Shin Pyu be­cause he wanted to give the au­di­ence a taste of the type of an­i­ma­tion he has been in love with since his child­hood.

“Most peo­ple think that an­i­ma­tion is just for chil­dren and they don’t re­spect an­i­ma­tors like me,” Edo Vader, who oth­er­wise goes by the name Ko Wanna, said.

“I wanted to cre­ate this touch­ing film to prove that they are wrong. This gives me the strength to do more an­i­ma­tion films in fu­ture”.

A Sim­ple Love Story, di­rected by Hnin Phyu Phyu Soe, which doc­u­ments an LGBT love story, took home the award for Best Doc­u­men­tary Film.

The film, how­ever, never made it onto the big screen. Hnin Phyu Phyu Soe pulled the film from the lineup in protest to ob­jec­tions by the film cen­sor­ship board with its last scene, which they had deemed un­suit­able for lo­cal au­di­ences.

“The love be­tween LGBT peo­ple is sim­ple, like every­one else,” she said.

“I felt it was un­fair that the cen­sor­ship board wanted to cut some di­a­logue out of my film. I mean, they al­low most main­stream films that at­tack the LGBT com­mu­nity to be shown to the pub­lic but they ob­ject to the di­a­logue in this film. So, I chose not to show my film at the fes­ti­val”.

The judges also awarded the New Vi­sion Award, which goes to films that have a fresh or ex­per­i­men­tal ap­proach, to director Sai Kong Khan for his 18-minute­long film, Train. Train fol­lows a jour­ney of self-dis­cov­ery on the Yan­gon cir­cu­lar line.

In its first year, the award for Best Ac­tor went to Pyae Pyae, for Ok I’m Fine and Awak­en­ing, while the Au­di­ence Choice Award went to Wai Yum for his por­trayal of a young trans­gen­der woman in her strug­gle to be­come a beauty pageant queen in the doc­u­men­tary Miss Or Miss.

“I’m very thank­ful to the film­mak­ers who sub­mit­ted this year”, Ma Thu Thu Shein, the fes­ti­val’s director, said. “With­out them, we would not be able to make this hap­pen.”

Photo: Supplied

An au­di­ence at the Waziya Cinema looks on as a film is in­tro­duced as part of the Wathann Film­fest in Yan­gon.

A still from the an­i­mated film Thaa Shin Pyu which was awarded Best Short Film at the Wathann Film­fest.

A still from the short film Train which was awarded the New Vi­sion Award at the Wathann Film­fest.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.