WATHANN FILM FESTIVAL PROVIDES A PLATFORM FOR FILMMAKERS AND VIEWERS IN MYANMAR TO CREATE AND SUPPORT THE DIVERSITY OF THE LOCAL FILM INDUSTRY.
Wathann Film Festival is Myanmar’s very first film festival. The event has been held annually since 2011 and is organized by two founders, Thuthu Shein and Thaddhi whose scholarships to study film at FAMU in the Czech Republic became their tickets to experience Europe’s flourishing film festival scene. The two were inspired by the idea of creating a platform for filmmakers and viewers in Myanmar to create and support the diversity of the local film industry without having to go through the government-regulated screenings that are oriented towards the studio distribution system. The festival places emphasis on alternative genres of films that are still foreign to Myanmar viewers such as short and experimental films including documentaries with contents unlike those shown on traditional television. One of the main objectives of the festival is to facilitate the creation of a platform for films that dare to be different and surpass commercial aspects including the constraint of government/NGO-approved content. The festival attempts to provide a stage for films that celebrate the powerful storytelling ability of the medium instead of production value or the moral or politically correctness of content.
At the 2017 Mini Wathann Film Festival, not only will the Burmese get to enjoy the screening, but the year also marks the second collaboration between Wathann and Thailand’s Filmvirus, in which some of the films from the festival will be selected and screened at The Reading Room, Bangkok. The highly diverse program includes a mysterious comedy, a film with a simple yet powerfully fabricated storyline and extremely experimental titles such as The Special One, a hilarious documentary about a group of fishermen who are football fanatics, Mrauk Oo Story, a docudrama about a garbage collecting boy, Period@Period, an experimental film about women’s menstruation, Transit, a personal documentary telling the story of Myanmar students in the United States who wish to travel to Costa Rica with their student visas and The Monk, Myanmar’s very first independent movie, etc. The program is exciting for many reasons, one being the diversity of both the content and working processes of modern Myanmar filmmakers.
TEXT: RATCHAPOOM BOONBUNCHACHOKE