Rice – Towards a Better Future (32’17”)

In 2009, two local organisations piloted a project to show that, with enough credit and the right technical support, farmers in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta could substantially increase rice yields and quality, including meeting the exacting standards of the international rice export market. The outcome of the pilot surprised everyone: the harvest exceeded in doubling their profits.
Filmed during an entire rice cycle, this documentary follows the fortunes of one farmer who took part in the project in an area badly affected by Cyclone Nargis: as the initially sceptical Ko Win Khin comes to grips with the new rice-growing techniques and begins to see how they can enhance his traditional methods, miller U Ohn Hann and agronomist U Moe Naing Oo explain how this ground-breaking project could have a major impact for farmers across the country – and help Myanmar regain its position as the rice bowl of Asia.

Stepping Up


Director: Tay Zar Win Tun, Pe Maung Same
Camera: Pe Maung Same, Aung Ko Ko, Tay Zar Win Tun
Sound Recordist: Wai Mar Nyunt, Tin Win Naing, Kyaw Myo Lwin, Hnin Ei Hlaing, Zaw Win Htwe
Editor: Regina Bärtschi, Kyaw Myo Lwin

Born in Yangon in 1974 Pe Maung Same developed his love for documentary as an editor of newsreel and historical films at AV Media. He also produced his own VCD magazine, ‘Disc Diary’. A participant of YFS since 2005, he has worked on a number of YFS productions, often as cinematographer. Set in Phya Phone, his 2006 directorial debut Like Father, Like Son won a Heinrich Boell Foundation Documentary Award in 2007; Stepping Up, his third outing as a director, was made for the NGO International Development Enterprise. In Rice – Towards a Better Future he displayed an enduring fascination for the people and landscapes of Myanmar’s Ayeyarwaddy Delta region and in his latest work, The River (co-directed with Tay Zar Win Tun) he takes a look at the potential effects of the controversial Myitsone dam project on Myanmar’s largest, almost mystical waterway.

Yangon-born Tay Zar Win Tun first encountered documentary films in Japan where he spent four years working for an electronics company. Returning to Myanmar in 2005 to take over his father’s photographic stores he nonetheless pursued his passion for film by working as a cinematographer and sound recording engineer on Myanmar feature films. Since joining YFS in 2007 he has initiated a string of documentaries; these include his directorial debut Water Boy, the film Rice – Towards a Better Future about a rice-growing project in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta, as well as a film about monastery education and another about the controversial Myitsone dam project entitled The River.

Screening History

September 2011 Mekong Country Day, Berlin, Germany

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