Berlin, 14 March 2013
The Judges’ verdicts are in and the winners of the first stage of the Yangon Film School’s inaugural Screenwriting Competition can be revealed. After lengthy deliberations, the School has decided to select not just one but three project outlines for further development.
The Competition was announced in the Summer of 2012 when a call went out on the Yangon Film School’s website, facebook page and in the local Myanmar press for engaging story ideas, one of which could be made into the School’s first feature-length fiction film. A panel of Burmese and international judges – including the well-known writer Nu Nu Yi Inwa, Sino-Burmese novelist Wendy Law-Yone, journalist Ma Thida, BBC producer Ed Wethered and French Cultural Attaché Marina Périllat – chose their favourite entries, which are:
1st Place – ‘Splash’ by Su Su Hlaing
Watoke is a 7-year-old street kid collecting junk for survival. When older boys get him addicted to glue, Watoke’s life goes into a downward spiral. But a young woman working in an NGO helps him kick his habit. Journalist Su Su Hlaing’s story takes an unflinching look at the lives of homeless kids on the streets of Yangon and what can be done to help them.
2nd Place – ‘Veins On Broken Wings’ by Aung Phyoe
The story of two young orphan girls – one Buddhist, the other Christian – growing up in an orphanage. When one falls in love with a local boy and leaves the orphanage, the other is devastated. Aung Phyoe’s story explores female friendship and the choices open to young women in Myanmar today through the prism of two girls of different religions.
3rd Place – ‘The Parcel’ by Anna Biak Tha Mawi
The story of a ‘parcel’ bride whose impoverished family decide to send her abroad to marry a man she’s never met so she can send money back home. Can the girl find a way to remain with the boy she loves in her Chin homeland? Chin national Anna Biak Tha Mawi’s story explores a phenomenon increasingly common in developing countries across the world.
These three feature film ideas will now be developed with the support of Yangon Film School’s screenwriting tutor Rachel Mathews (UK) into full-length film treatments. These will be read by the same panel of judges who will select a single project to be turned into a screenplay. Yangon Film School will then use this screenplay to raise production finance in order for the film to be made.
Described by one local partner as a ‘milestone in capacity building,’ the European non-profit organisation Yangon Film School aims to create a diverse media culture in Myanmar by training a creative young workforce that is also capable of meeting the audiovisual needs of Myanmar’s development sector. The school offers a range of audio-visual workshops for emerging Myanmar filmmakers that blends theory with practical, hands-on exercises.