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The Myanmar Diaries, a documentary made by a collective of anonymous directors from inside Myanmar that depicts the brutal crackdown by the government since the military coup in the country last year, has won the Amnesty International Film Award for best film at the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival.
The prize, which comes with a 5,000 euro ($5,700) bursary, was unveiled Thursday. On Wednesday night, Myanmar Diaries also won Berlin’s best documentary prize, which comes with 40,000 euros ($45,500) in prize money for the film’s directors and producers.
Even before the film was shown — it had its world premiere in Berlin’s Panorama sidebar — Myanmar Diaries picked up its first gong, receiving the London Human Rights Film Festival’s inaugural Tony Elliott Impact Award, supported by Time Out. The prize, named in honor of the magazine’s founder, was set up to give financial and promotional support to films that can have a social impact. Myanmar Diaries was unanimously selected by the Time Out jury for its “its nail-biting storytelling, guerrilla inventiveness, raw courage, and filmmaking craft.”
In its statement, the Amnesty jury called Myanmar Diaries an “impressive investigative and deeply courageous film. All those involved in this film who courageously risked their lives to make it, to courageously oppose the military regime in Myanmar.”
The anonymous directors, who go by the name The Myanmar Collective, put together Myanmar Diaries with a combination of covertly shot documentary footage, much of it captured using cellphones, and staged scenes, both re-enactments of real events and poetic images of protest and defiance.
“Right after the coup, we were in shock, disbelief and had the silly, maybe naive hope, that the military would make some sort of deal, that things would return to normal,” one member of the Myanmar Collective recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “By the end of February, when we realized this was not going to happen and that things were going to get much worse, we decided to do something, using film, the only language we had.”
The Myanmar Diaries will have its North American premiere March 4 as part of the program of the MoMA Doc Fortnight in New York.
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