Yangon Film School was founded in 2005 by the British-Burmese documentary maker Lindsey Merrison. The training finds its purpose in the search and support of independent young authors or even film enthusiasts with limited experience with film medium. After six years since the study programme has been established, Yangon Film School now registers over 50 graduates, many of them already holders of international film festival awards.
The year seven participants represent the diversity of local ethnic groups, coming from various religious and social backgrounds in Burma. During the course of the last year’s edition, there were as much as 9 documentary films originating on the grounds of Yangon Film School, many of them taking ethnic multiplicity as its central theme. One of them, Sweet Pie directed by Sai Kong Kham, was awarded with the Best documentary film award at the inaugural Wathann Film Festival, an event held by former Yangon Film School participants in September 2011, co-organized by Institut Francais de Birmanie and Prague‘s FAMU Film School (this year’s edition takes place in Yangon, Burma, September 5 – 9). Besides, Yangon Film School documentaries managed to get shortlisted on several international film festivals in Europe, Asia, South and Northern Americas. In 2011, there were 23 of them featuring at 20 film festivals. In addition to that, 6 Burmese YFS students were given the opportunity to take part in film events in Berlin, Toronto, Kathmandu of Munich.
The slate of workshop programme is designed to introduce several individual aspects of filmmaking on all levels, from screenplay development, pre-production, camera works, HD formats, sound equipment and mixing, editing room and other post-production processes. The training includes also sessions in aesthetic qualities, film form, narration dynamics or history of cinematography. However, the basis for a high-standard workshop stems mainly from the experiences of renowned tutors. The seventh edition presented professionals such as:
Lars Barthel (Germany), David Smith (United Kingdom), Melanie Sanford (Australia), Frances Clavert (United Kingdom / Australia), Tuula Mehtonen (Finland), Jessica Ehelbracht (Germany), Regina Bärtschi (Switzerland), Rachel Mathews (United Kingdom), Ivan Horák (Czech Republic)
After positive feedback from the past editions the participants received tutoring from former Yangon Film School graduates, today’s teach-to-train programme students as well as regular trainers. This enables to raise self-sustainability of the institution, drawing from local sources, becoming independent on European leadership and giving use to the experience and example of Burmese filmmakers. The latest workshop of the 2012 Yangon Film School edition took place July 29 – August 18, 2012. Further information about the up-to-date activities can be found at the YFS official website.
Yangon Film School project received expert assistance of the Institute of Documentary Film, and was held in the cooperation and aid of: Human Rights Transition Policy Department, Transition Promotion Program, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
[Source: Yangon Film School 2011 Annual Report]
BURMESE FILMMAKERS AT EAST EUROPEAN FORUM WORKSHOP