A Million Threads (15’20”)



Every year on a full moon night in November, thirty women gather at Shwe Phone Pwint Pagoda in the Pazundaung district of Myanmar’s former capital Yangon to take part in a competition known as Matho Thingan. Their task is to weave the finest robes for the temple’s Buddha images. All robes must be finished by dawn otherwise they are considered ‘stale’.

Cheered on by large crowds and an orchestra of pulsating drums and high-pitched oboes, the teams of dedicated female competitors work the handlooms frenziedly back and forth in a feat that celebrates Buddha’s own foster mother, Gautami, who is said to have woven her son a robe in a single day.

A Million Threads


Director: Thu Thu Shein
Camera: Pe Maung Same and Thu Thu Shein
Editor: Thu Thu Shein
Sound: Lay Thida


Yangon-born Thu Thu Shein was a video editor at Myanmar Forever June Co. before discovering her passion for documentary at the first Yangon Film School workshop where she was cinematographer on A Day with Aye Nan Lin (dir: Eh Mwee). “I wanted to show the weavers’ excitement, exhaustion and joy”, she says of her own directorial debut, A Million Threads, which she also edited during the 2006 YFS workshop. A graduate of the University of Culture’s cinema course and a regular cinematographer on YFS productions, she is currently attending an MA course in cinematography at the Czech Academy of Performing Arts FAMU in Prague.

Filmography (selection)

2005 Homesick (5’, cinematographer)
2005 A Day with Aye Nan Lin (12’39”, cinematographer)
2006 A Million Threads (15’20”, director, cinematographer, editor)
2006 Just A Boy (13’05”, cinematographer)
2006 The Uninvited Guest (13’49”, sound recordist)
2007 A Farmer’s Tale (18’17”, sound recordist)
2007 Stepping Up (20’04”, cinematographer)
2007 The Merry Widows of Nam Mun (22’22”, cinematographer)
2008 Saving Sankar (15’45”, editor)
2008 Sun Behind The Clouds (13’13”, cinematographer)
2009 A Bright Future (15’21”, cinematographer)
2010 5 Beats Before Death (28’, director)
2010 Flash (5’03”, director, cinematographer)
2011 Nights (5’, director, cinematographer), Shortfilm, 35mm, Colour
2011 The Lady, a sheet of records (3’13”, director, cinematographer), Short Film, 16mm, Black and White

Screening History

October 2008 Vision du Réel, Nyon, France
August 2010 Douarnenez Film Festival, Douarnenez, France
September 2010 Thai International Short Film Festival, BKK, Thailand
October 2010 Doi Saket Film Festival, Thailand
November 2010 exground film festival, Wiesbaden, Germany
May 2011 Vientianale International Film Festival, Vientiane, Laos
June 2011 Open City London Documentary Festival, London, UK
July 2011 Traumzeit Festival, Duisburg, Germany
October 2011 International Festival Signes de Nuit, Paris, France
November 2011 Festival International du Documentaire Étudiant, Saint-Ouen, France

Visit Us On Facebook