And the Roos Award goes to Burma VJ

Director Anders Østergaard and producer Lise Lense-Møller, the duo behind ‘Burma VJ – Reporting from a Closed Country’, received the documentary film honour, the Roos Award, Saturday 29 August.

Making the impossible possible
‘Burma VJ’ was initially conceived as a small story about personal engagement and courage. But the rebellion of Burmese monks in 2007 compelled it to switch gear, expanding it into a human drama with a strong vein of high-risk journalism.

The committee’s statement on why they chose the film:
They have created a moving film that evokes sympathetic insight, even though the audience does not see the leading person who remains anonymous for security reasons.
They have created a film with visual strength, an authentic historical document from thousands of small clips – out of focus, incoherent, and shot by different individuals under chaotic conditions.
They have persisted in sticking to their ambition of making ‘a documentary film that mattered’, even though it would have been easier and less expensive to produce an efficient news version of the film, which there was a demand for.
They have taken chances; the film had to be made, even before an unsigned contract and even though necessary finances were yet to be met.
And they have persisted long after the completion of the film – followed it around the world -with their engagement in those who took part in the film and with their interest in the themes dwelt on in the film.
Lise Lense-Møller

Lense-Møller is a fim producer and CEO and founder of Magic Hour Films. For the last 20 years, Lense-Møller has produced films, co-written scripts and been a consultant on the development and production of feature films, short fiction, documentaries, and TV-series. She is also one of the experts at EU’s EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs). continue
And the Roos Award goes to Burma VJ

The fall of Kokang raises questions

MONDAY, 31 AUGUST 2009 14:01 S.H.A.N.
After three days of heavy fighting, 27-29 August, the bulk of the anti-Naypyitaw Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the name given to their armed force by the Kokang, moved yesterday into China where they were disarmed by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The biggest question raised by the fall of Qingsuihe (Chinshwehaw), opposite Namteuk (Namtit), where the Kokang’s strongest ally United Wa State Army (UWSA)’s 318th Division is headquartered, may be: What were the Wa doing when the Kokang were being attacked at Qingsuihe?
Peng Jiasheng At first, both the Wa and other sources reported that at least 500 UWSA fighters had been deployed to assist the embattled Kokang. However, on the 29 August evening, the Wa source told SHAN Qingsuihe had fallen, as the UWSA had decided only to make a stand along the Namting that forms as a boundary between Wa and Kokang territories in order to prevent any spillovers from the fighting.

What happened to the ‘all for one and one for all’ agreement reached earlier among the Wa, Kokang and Mongla? SHAN asked. But Panghsang has yet to answer the question, which has naturally prompted more questions:
• How strong is the Peace and Democracy Front (PDF), now that it has done practically nothing against the Burma Army’s attack on Kokang?
• Now that the UWSA has allowed Kokang its northern ally to go, is it ready to let go other allies, namely the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ in the west and Mongla aka National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA) too?
• Does it think the UWSA will be able to make a lone stand against the Burma Army, after its allies have gone?
• What was China’s role in the Kokang debacle? Has the UWSA been advised that the Burma Army will not be allowed to make further attacks against it and its remaining allies? Continue reading “The fall of Kokang raises questions”

Despite victory over rebellious Kokang army announced yesterday through state-run media, the Burma Army has yet to slow down its war machine, reported sources from Shan State.

People in Muse, opposite China’s Ruili, and northwest of Kokang, were still being snatched by the official porter collectors yesterday and in Lashio, the capital of Shan State North, southwest of Kokang, civilian trucks were still in demand.
pengjiasheng The Burma Army is proceeding with a mopping-up operation against isolated Kokang fighters who are still putting up a guerrilla resistance in the 22,000 territory, according to a source on the Sino-Burma border. Up to 30% of the original Kokang force (estimated strength, 800) loyal to the deposed leader Peng Jiasheng are believed to be still on Burma’s side of the border.

On the Thai-Burma border, militia units placed under full alert two days ago have been allowed to relax. “Civilian trucks requisitioned by the Army in Monghsat (opposite Thailand’s Mae Ai) have also been permitted to return home,” reported a local.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA)’s Thai-border based 171st Military Region, comprising 5 brigades, under the command of Wei Xuegang, however, have yet to come down from their mountain bases. “Unlike in the past, when Wa trucks passed by Burma Army checkpoints without being searched, they are now being subjected to thorough going-overs,” said another local source.

On the other hand, sources in eastern Shan State are betting that the next target for the Burma Army should be Mongla, the UWSA’s southern neighbor and ally. Kokang that fell on 29 August is the Wa’s northern neighbor and ally. Continue reading “Despite victory over rebellious Kokang army announced yesterday through state-run media, the Burma Army has yet to slow down its war machine, reported sources from Shan State.”

: The Burmese Army’s Infantry Battalion 32 recruited five young people from the Thai-Burma border town of ‘Three Pagoda” last week. Among the five young people, one young recruit escaped with injuries and reached the border.

chirl 2 MONDAY, 31 AUGUST 2009 09:37

Sankhlaburi (August 28): The Burmese Army’s Infantry Battalion 32 recruited five young people from the Thai-Burma border town of ‘Three Pagoda” last week. Among the five young people, one young recruit escaped with injuries and reached the border. Kaowao news agency interviewed him yesterday.

The youth, who escaped is Maung Kyaw Soe (15) and lived with his parents in ‘Three Pagoda’ town. The Burmese Army took away five young people including Maung Kyaw Soe without knowledge of their parents on August 17.

“When I was playing, a soldier called me. So I went with him and was not allowed to go back. The other boys are also there. Two boys are older than me while two boys are younger than me. I don’t know their names. We stayed with soldiers at a temple for a night; then the military column left ‘Three Pagodas’ the next day. The five of us were separated and we had to carry army equipment like a porter,” said Maung Kyaw Soe.

According to Maung Kyaw Soe, his parents are under a misconception that he is working in a garden belonging to a person. At first he thought that he was being detained for use as porter for a day “but they persuaded me to become a soldier. In two or three days, a sergeant persuaded me to become a soldier offering money but I refused,” Maung Kyaw Soe added.

When he was traveling with IB 32 column, he was injured on his right arm during a gun battle between the KNU and the IB 32 column on August 23. He escaped when the column stayed in Lay Pho village beyond Mae Zali village. However, the other four boys travelled with the column. Even though the injury is not serious, he needs to take treatment for two weeks because of his five day long traumatic escape, said a Mon medic.

About 120 soldiers of IB 32 have been on duty for four months guarding the town. During the four months, one lieutenant and 30 of other ranks deserted the army. The South Eastern military command ordered Lt. Col. Khin Zaw, commander of IB 32, to find substitutes for the deserters.