Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed CountryAnders Østergaard, 85 min, Denmark, Burma.
Going beyond the occasional news clip from Burma, the acclaimed filmmaker, Anders Østergaard, brings us close to Burma’s video journalists who insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country despite risking torture and life in jail. Armed with small handycams they make their undercover reportages, smuggle the material out of the country, have it broadcast back into Burma via satellite and offered as free usage for international media.
”Joshua”, age 27 and one of the undercover VJs, is suddenly thrown into the role as tactical leader of his group of reporters, when Buddhist monks in September 2007 lead a massive uprising. Foreign TV crews are banned from entering the country, so it is left to Joshua and his crew to document the events and establish a lifeline to the surrounding world. It is their footage that keeps the revolution alive on TV screens all over. As government intelligence agents understand the power of the camera, the VJs soon become their prime target. During the turbulent days of September, Joshua finds himself on an emotional rollercoaster between hope and despair, as he frantically tries to keep track of his reporters in the streets while the great uprising unfolds.
With Joshua as the psychological lens, high-risk journalism and dissidence in a police state is made tangible to a global audience.