Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country

Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival 2008
Won: Joris Ivens Award, Movies That Matter Award
Bodil Awards 2009 ; Won: Bodil Best Documentary
Robert Festival 2009 ; Won: Robert Best Documentary
Sundance Film Festival 2009 ; Won: World Cinema Documentary Film Editing Award
Nominated: Grand Jury Prize World Cinema – Documentary

An urgent and compelling documentary of a desperate situation, the footage for this film was shot by a courageous group of video journalists or “VJs”, and smuggled out of Burma at great risk. The material was shot in 2007 and, edited into a film, it shows the force gathering behind the monks’ protests in September, and the government’s brutal reaction to stem the dissent. The VJs themselves are particular targets for government agents, who know that their footage is finding its way out of the country.

Østergaard’s film is stark and disturbing, and a reminder that, although information in Burma is restricted and the punishment for breaking this severe, there are still people risking their lives to let the outside world know what is happening in the country.