International Film Festival

Yangon, November 2020, 8th edition


Welcome to the MEMORY! International Film Festival! It focuses on worldwide & regional cinema as well as cinema heritage – and is unique to this part of the world.

MEMORY! Festival has established a base in a country, Myanmar, with a rich cinema history dating all the way back to the 1920s. Continuing the tradition of the very few heritage film festivals in existence, MEMORY! aims to bring to the Myanmar public the kinds of films that were barely accessible for several decades in this country. Audiences will experience the rich histories of world and local film, and see Cinema as both a popular and an elevating artform that reaches across eras and nations. Though perhaps differently to each of us, Cinema speaks to all. Movies are journeys through time, space, and history, they are windows onto various cultures, traditions, societies, and religions.

The festival develops several programs:
The Myanmar Script Fund, an annual scriptwriting workshop competition, is MEMORY! Festival’s commitment to the next generation of Myanmar filmmakers.
As well Journalism & Culture is a program for the next generation of Myanmar journalists concerned by Culture.
The Myanmar 100, a long-term project that aims to recover and restore works of national significance and to establish a national film and media archive.

MEMORY! Festival is developed by the MEMORY! Cinema Association, an international non-governmental organization, dedicated to the cinema and cultural memory.
We wish you a pleasant reading.


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Isabelle Huppert at Rosewood Yangon
© Christine Tamalet

Program & Guests

In 2019, MEMORY! explores the theme LIFE TOGETHER, an extremely exciting theme in a country as diverse as Myanmar. Over twenty classics and recent works show the different challenging, amusing or disturbing ways people and communities interact with each other. A theme at the very heart of the cinema.
Alongside the main theme, the film line up also include a tribute to Agnes Varda (France) and Lino Brocka (Philippines), a carte blanche to 3-ACT Magazine as well as other special screenings.

While the festival takes place in the oldest cinema in Myanmar, the Waziya, from November 15 to 24, an open air cinema is organised in the emblematic venue of Mahahabandoola park from November 16 to 18.

During the past editions, our distinguished Patrons Catherine Deneuve (France) and Grace Swe Zin Htaik (Myanmar) are joined by celebrated worldwide actresses Isabelle Huppert and Michelle Yeoh.

But also awarded directors Tsai Ming-liang – and his leading actor Lee Kang Sheng – Michel Hazanavicius, Olivier Assayas, Midi Z, Phan Dang Di & Tran Anh Hung.
Also joined by famous actresses Tran Nu Yen-Khe, Clothilde Coureau & Cheng Pei Pei and female directors Pascale Ferran, Tan Pin Pin, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec & Darlene Johnson. Not to forget the directors Davy Chou, Régis Wargnier,  Eddie Cahyono, Claude Mourieras among many others…


MEMORY! Festival presents each year an international conference. It is on a topic closely related to the main theme of the festival. A first of its kind in Myanmar, this interdisciplinary conference aims to explore the idea of film censorship in a broad cultural context, inviting connections between various forms of censorship and across historical circumstances. We open the floor to Myanmar-based and international presenters to join us in addressing this topic from a variety of perspectives including case studies, theoretical investigations, problem-oriented arguments, and comparative analyses.

2017 theme: THE CENSORSHIP
Opening keynote: H.E Kristian Schmidt . European Union Ambassador to Myanmar
U Thein Naing . Director of Myanmar Censorship Board  (MMPDB)
Dr. Howard Besser . Professor of Cinema Studies at New York University
Ma Shin Daewe . Independent woman filmmaker, directing mentor at Yangon Film School
Manshur Zikri Indonesian researcher, critic and curator
Patrick F. Campos . Independent film critic and assistant professor at the University of the Philippines
Dr. Saw Tiong GuanSenior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya.
Tan Pin Pin Singaporean female director
Thaiddhi . Burmese filmmaker and producer. Co-founder of Wathann Film Festival
Closing remarks: Dr. Paul D. Grant . Cinema teacher at the University of San Carlos, Philippines.
Chair: Theo Stojanov . PhD Candidat in Film & Moving Image Studies, Concordia University, Canada.

Opening keynote: H.E Christian Lechervy . France Ambassador to Myanmar
Tim Aye Hardy Founder of myME (Myanmar Mobile Education Project)
Dr Howard BesserProfessor of Cinema Studies at New York University
Suresh ChabriaProfessor of Film Appreciation, former director of the National Film Archive of India
Kiri DalenaVisual artist, filmmaker and Filipino activist
Eko Maryadi . Indonesia journalist & Former President of Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
Sonny SweCEO and co-founder of Myanmar magazine Frontier
Ma Thida . Writer & human rights Myanmar activist. Board member of PEN International
Roland B. Tolentino . Faculty member of University of the Philippines Film Institute
Closing remarks: Dr. Paul D. Grant . Cinema teacher at the University of San Carlos, Philippines.
Chair: Theo Stojanov . PhD Candidat in Film & Moving Image Studies, Concordia University, Canada.

The conferences are organized by Dr. Paul Douglas Grant & Theo Stojanov


Myanmar Script Fund

Myanmar Script Fund is a program for emerging local filmmakers and producers working on their first or second full-length feature film. MSF is intended to help connect filmmakers from Myanmar with international audiences.
The 5th edition of MSF will take place during MEMORY! Film Festival in early December 2020. The registration is now open. Click here to apply.

The program includes professional workshops combining individual consultancies on script-writing, producing and plenary sessions intended to provide insight into the international film market. The Fund’s objective is to support emerging filmmakers and producers during the development process and to assist them in honing their professional skills. At the end, the candidates present their projects during a pitch session in front of a jury comprised of international film experts. In 2016, the jury was presided by the director Michel Hazanavicius (France) then, the following years, by the director Midi Z (Taiwan) the vietnamese director Phan Dang Di and the french director Claude Mouriéras.

Projects awarded:

MSF 2019
LUCKY by Myo Min Htwe. Producer Jose Dennis Teodosio
Script Development Award: 1,000 Euros funded by film production companies Chinese Shadows & D1 Film for the script development.
THE ROOSTER by Aung Min. Scriptwriter San San Oo. Producer Naing Win
Script Development Award: 1,000 Euros funded by film production companies Chinese Shadows & D1 Film for the script development.
HUMAN by Than Lwin Oo. Producer Poe Poe
Production Award: Production of a short film, PLASTIC BAG, inspired by the feature project. Shooting in Yangon in late October 2020.
GARUDA DRAGON by Zaw Bo Bo Hein. Producer Lamin Oo
Open Doors Award: Lamin Oo, a promising producer, is invited to participate in a week-long producers’ Lab at the Locarno Film Festival in August 2020.

MSF 2018
THE BEER GIRL OF YANGON by Sein Lyan Tun. Producer John Badalu
Production Award: 30,000 USD of in-kind post-production in Paris from Digital District (France).
SHE CALLED IT FREEDOM by Myat Minn Khant. Producer Khin Warso
Open Doors Award: Khin Warso, a promising female producer, is invited to participate in a week-long producers’ Lab at the Locarno Festival in August 2019.

MSF 2017
WAY BACK HOME by Nay Chi Myat Noe Wint. Producer Kaung Sint
Production Award: 10,000 USD of in-kind post-production in Paris from Digital District (France).
FRUIT GATHERING by Aung Phyoe. Producer Aung Phyoe
Open Doors Award: Director and producer Aung Phyoe is invited to participate as observer at the Locarno Festival & Open Doors in August 2018. The project win also 10,000 USD of in-kind post-production from Digital District.                                  .

MSF 2016
FOUR LEGS by Mg Sun. Producer Ma Aeint
Production Award: Invitation to the FAMU Summer Filmmaking Initiation Campus 2017, a A-level 5-weeks program in Prague, for the director and the producer.
SATURDAY BORN ARIES by Nwaye Zar Che Soe. Producer Soe Arkar Htun
Open Doors Award: Nwaye Zar Che Soe, the female director, is invited to participate in a week-long producers’ Hub at the Locarno Festival in August 2017.

The Myanmar Script Fund works in close collaboration with Open Doors, a program managed by the festival of Locarno (Switzerland). In 2019, it was supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (Switzerland), Institut français (France), Forever Group (Myanmar) and Arte Cinema (France).

Journalism & Culture Program

We strongly believe that culture is not only entertainment but also a key pillar for all democracies. We believe also that the press’ freedom is a key condition to develop the democracy in Myanmar. Our common objective is to involve Myanmar emerging journalists to cover such a culture event which is also a political & social event.
Associated with the Myanmar Journalism Institute, we have developed the following program:

The participants to the curriculum are around 20 students from Myanmar Journalism Institute.
MJI’s professors start the dedicated program at the beginning of October.
The workshop starts at the end of October, supervised in 2017 and 2018 by professional journalists Carol Isoux & Jérôme Boruszewski and, in 2019, by Laure Siegel & Thierry Falise.
The workshop is shared in two parts:
End of Oct – Festival’s Opening: Theorical sessions
Festival: Practice with daily coverage of MEMORY! Festival & guests.

At the end of the workshop, a newspaper in Burmese, the Bioscope News, gathered all the articles. Printed in 3.000 free copies.

The 2nd edition of this program, in 2018, was supported by Parliaments and People Program / University of SOAS (London).
The 3rd edition, was proudly supported by the Delegation of  the European Union to Myanmar and the French Embassy in Myanmar.

In 2019, MEMORY! International Film Festival was proudly supported by the following Partners:

Ministry of Information of Myanmar
Embassy of France in Myanmar
Institut français
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
European Union in Myanmar

Rosewood Yangon
Forever Group

Centre National du Cinéma
Rice Communications
Immagine Ritrovata
Embassy of United States of America in Myanmar
Embassy of Australia in Myanmar

Myanmar Motion Picture Organisation
Open Doors (Locarno Festival)
Myanmar Journalism Institute
Yangon Walls
Le Planteur
SBA wine
Gulliver Travels
Max +

If you want to become a partner of MEMORY! Film Festival, please send us a message through our contact form.

© Stephen Kelly

Myanmar 100

Myanmar 100 Program will take place over a period ending in 2020, for the 100th anniversary of the Myanmar cinema history. The project is developed by MEMORY! Cinema Association, committed to safeguarding worldwide cinema heritage, in partnership with the Cinema Department of Ministry of Information (IPRD-MMPDB) and the support of France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia. Today, the situation is very critical. Most of the Burmese films are dispersed, damaged or destroyed by time.

The project is comprised of three foundational components:

The Lost Film Search and the Restoration of Myanmar Classics program aim to establish a national film collection. Our initial assessment revealed a dire situation: less than twenty titles still have celluloid elements that could permit restoration work. Among them, MYA GA NAING (1934) by Maung Tin Maung restored in 2016, PYO CHIT LIN (1950) by Tin Myint restored in 2017 and MHONE SHWE YI (1970) by Win Oo restored in 2019.

The physical preservation of the films and film-related materials such as posters, scripts, photographs, sound recordings, press and advertising materials is a crucial part of cinema history and, even more importantly, of national cultural memory.
Urgent action is required to process existing collections as soon as possible, as physical decay and degradation are already taking their toll. Another part of this task involves searching and collecting these kinds of materials throughout the country and abroad.
Myanmar 100 program aims to bring as many additional feature films as possible as well as footages and documentaries in order to contribute to enriching the national collection.

The creation of the National Film Archive of Myanmar is the ultimate purpose of this Project. As a key cultural venue in Yangon and a model in the ASEAN region, the Archive will highlight the rich history of Myanmar cinema, offer diverse programming of Myanmar and foreign films, and educate younger generations. It will house a comprehensive National Film and Media Collection and help inspire future film talent.

Mobile Cinema

MEMORY! Cinema Association joins forces with International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, to launch the MEMORY! Mobile Cinema Program within Lighting Myanmar Project Campaign, showcasing Myanmar national film treasure, MYA GA NAING (1934) by Maung Tin Maung, in remote villages of Myanmar.
MEMORY! Mobile Cinema Program aims to bring MYA GA NAING, part of national collective memory, to the people leaving in rural areas, where the access to electricity and culture is very limited.

MEMORY! Mobile Cinema starts in December 2018 and will travel during four months in 2019 in Irrawaddy, Bago & Magway Regions and also Mon State.
During this tour, more than 60 screenings will be organized.

The First Row will be held in 16 small villages of the Irrawaddy Region from December 12, 2018 to January 11, 2019. During this tour, the townships concerned are Ingapu, Henzada, Pantanaw, Maubin & Mawgyun.
The Second Row will be held in 16 small villages in Bago Region from January 18 to February 15, 2019. The townships concerned are Paukkhaung & Pyay.
The Third Row will be held in Mon State & Irrawaddy Region (15 villages) from February 17 to March 17, 2019.
The Four Row will be held in 16 villages in Magway & Irrawaddy Region from March 20 to May 3, 2019.

Cinema Street

In 2019, Memory! Festival takes to the street with the Cinema Street project.

Located between 33rd and 34th streets of Yangon, just behind the Waziya Cinema, heart of the festival, the alleyway chosen was well known as a venue for public outdoor screenings, place of several film production companies and even a filming location (for instance One Father, One Son (1975) by Maung Nandar). Unfortunately, in recent decades garbage has been accumulating in the middle of the alleyway, making the place insalubrious and almost inaccessible because of the amount of trash. Little by little all community life has disappeared…

The project has two components: first is the restoration of public hygiene and sanitation in the street. It includes garbage cleaning and sewer rehabilitation, but also training in maintenance and community’s education of good environmental reflexes. The second is a tribute to the Myanmar cinema’s history. The audience can indeed get to experience an open air street art gallery of outstanding murals on the Golden Age of the Myanmar film industry and attend to public open-air screenings of Myanmar Classics.

This project is the result of a long process carried out by the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) for the cleaning and Ygnwalls, a collective of artists, for the furnishing and the decoration. The project was funded by the Embassy of France in Myanmar.

When trash alleys turn into art streets in downtown Yangon and where the residents and the communities regain their memory, their dignity and their ability to live together…

Upcoming screenings on the Cinema Street (5pm)
March 7, 2020: A Pay Ta Khu Thar Ta Khu (aka One Father, One Son) by by Maung Nandar (1975)
March 21, 2020: College Jin
April 4, 2020: Thingyan Moe (aka Rain in the Water Festival) by Maung Tin Oo (1985)