Burmese Dreaming

A feature documentary produced and directed by Timothy Syrota

53 minutes

CHANNEL

Film 01: Burmese Dreaming     Film 02: Trailer     Film 03: Cinematography     Film 04: Out-take 'Lovers' Park

A MONKEY BUSINESS / TIMOTHY SYROTA PRODUCTION

 

BUDGET - Self Funded

DIRECTOR Timothy Syrota

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Timothy Syrota

STILL SHOTS, KAREN STATE Burma Issues

SCRIPT Refugees, English Immersion Program in collaboration with Timothy Syrota

NARRATORS Naw Bathseba, Saw Teh Teh

MUSIC David Lazaro and Graham Pointer

EDITING Timothy Syrota

AUDIO MIX David Lazaro

COLOUR GRADE & MASTERING David Milner

SPECIAL THANKS TO Patrick Kearns, Jack Picone, Mr Garry Woodard, Christophe de Chasis, Saw Taw Nay Htoo

REVIEW

 

Mr Paul Copeland

I am a lawyer who practices in Toronto Ontario. Since late 1988 I have been actively involved working in support of democracy in Burma.  I have traveled to Burma four times. I am on the advisory board of Canadian Friends of Burma. I work closely with the Canadian Campaign for Free Burma (CC4FB). I read a great deal about Burma and have seen many documentaries concerning the situation. Burmese Dreaming is one of the finest documentaries I have seen on Burma. The visual images of the country in the film are stunningly beautiful and for me capture the reality of the Burma I know. The background story of the film vividly portrays the struggles of the Karen people, the largest ethnic minority in Burma, in trying to survive against the oppression of the military dictatorship that has kept the people of Burma locked in a cruel, heartless and inhumane regime since 1962.

International Premiere: 

United Nations 'We the People's Documentary Festival' (London)

US Premiere:

Buffalo - Niagra International Film Festival

Australian Premiere:

Emerge Film Festival (Melbourne) 

Other Highlights:

Hot Docs (Canada) - International Showcase Selection

Lucerne International Film Festival (Switzerland)

International Diaspora Film Festival (Toronto)

DIRECTOR'S GUFF

First feature documentary by a film maker with a commitment to a dream (appropriate) but no film related training, little experience, no budget, a subject matter involving one of the world's most media intolerant totalitarian dictatorships, and a woe-to-go production journey from conception to completion spanning more years than I have fingers. Fortune, misfortune, anecdotes aplenty, and a director who could 'guff' about any, all and more of the above, for longer than the attention span of even the most captive (or captured and refused the right to either leave or stop listening) audience. And so, the guff comes in four sections ...

GENESIS

So,a hippy backpacker in Burma in 1998, stumbling my way through a crash course in being a naive antipodean observing the harsh realities of life in one of the world's most enduring totalitarian regimes. Interwoven, inexorably interlinked to this was the mystical beauty of the country, sounds and smells from the repugnant through to the exotic and the mesmerising, the Buddhist culture, the compelling stories of the people, all commingling into a melange that took life and my work in a direction I had not anticipated. Twenty years on and I still find the country intriguing. Within two weeks of arriving for the first time I had decided that I would write a book about Burma. Previously I had only had two short articles published. Six weeks into my trip and I was walking alone in the mountains of Shan State, an area controlled then by the Shan State Army (North). It was approaching sunset and I came across the tumble down remnants of a Buddhist shrine overgrown with trees, very picturesque. I think the beauty of the scene proved, without preconception, to be the fulcrum of the many images I had witnessed over the preceding weeks. And at this moment they spoke to me with a clear, resonant and collective voice, 'At this moment, with this scene in front of you, you are going to make the decision that you will come back and make a film about this country'. I remember that scene, that moment, with such clarity, the moment I made the irrevocable decision to return to Burma to make a film. This was my first Burmese Dreaming  epiphany. There are to be a number of them over the following years, as well as one master stroke of good fortune.

 

FILMING IN BURMA   

The most fitting analogy with which I can describe the experience is this: it was like getting up every morning, taping a polythene (see through) bag of marihuana to your head, and then going and doing a tap dance in front of the local police cop shop hoping that no one will notice. More coming shortly.

A PAN'S POST PRODUCTION LABYRINTH

An ephinay on a Sunday morning in Thornbury, followed by a late night with a British backpacker. Coming shortly. 

THIS IS THE END - A RETROSPECTIVE MUSING ON TRIUMPHS & TRAVAILS

Success, disappointment, highs a lows. Coming shortly.