Burma VJ Shortlisted for the 2009 Academy Awards

Via on Nov 21, 2009

Exciting news this morning: The recent film Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country, which features the work of citizen journalists inside the title country’s 2007 “Saffron Revolution,” has been shortlisted for the 2009 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature

Here’s what the editors of the Guardian said in their powerful endorsement of the film earlier this year:

There is an awful lot of rough camera work in the just-released film Burma VJ. Heads missing, over-eager zooms, jumpy shots; that kind of thing. Hollywood directors sometimes do this to inject urgency into that otherwise-tepid thriller, but here the lack of cinematic polish is neither voluntary nor superfluous. A record of life inside totalitarian Burma, this documentary was filmed undercover by amateur video journalists (or VJs) on Handycams kept out of sight of the military junta. If the batteries gave out, the VJs used camera phones instead. The generals run Burma’s TV and radio, and they control most print media, so the anonymous VJs who are the subject of this film perform a rare and brave service. Called the Democratic Voice of Burma, this non-profit network gathers its footage in secret, before smuggling it out of the country. Burma VJ concentrates on the Saffron Uprising of September 2007, when thousands of Buddhist monks marched against military rule. This gesture of defiance soon swells into a mass protest. “Film them all! So many!” cries one marcher to a VJ, and the camera pans around balconies and rooftops crammed with cheering protesters. It is a moving scene, all the more so because the viewer knows that soon the uprising will be crushed, with thousands killed and arrested. Citizen journalism is much talked about, but this film shows it at its best – as a powerful force, allowing the world access to places and episodes that would otherwise remain hidden.

For more about Burma VJ, including where and when you can see it, visit http://www.burmavjmovie.com. A trailer can be seen here.

About Reverend Danny Fisher

Rev. Danny Fisher, M.Div., D.B.S. (Cand.), is a professor and Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at University of the West in Rosemead, CA. He was ordained as a lay Buddhist minister by the Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California in 2008. In addition, he is certified as a mindfulness meditation instructor by Naropa University in association with Shambhala International. A member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, he serves on the advisory council for the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. In addition to his work for elephant journal, he is a blogger for Shambhala Sun. He has also written for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Religion Dispatches, The Journal of Buddhist Ethics, The Journal of Religion & Film, Eastern Horizon, New York Spirit, Alternet's Wiretap Magazine, and other publications. His award-winning website is http://www.dannyfisher.org

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One Response to “Burma VJ Shortlisted for the 2009 Academy Awards”

  1. Chiana says:

    What an awesome way to explain this—now I know ervetyhnig!

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