International Film Heritage Festival

Yangon, 15-24 November 2019


Welcome to the MEMORY! International Film Heritage Festival! The festival focuses on worldwide and regional cinema & 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 Myanmar Script Fund, an annual scriptwriting workshop competition, is MEMORY! Festival’s commitment to the next generation of Myanmar filmmakers.

As well MEMORY! Journalism & Culture is a program for the next generation of Myanmar journalists concerned by Culture.

MEMORY! Festival is developed by the MEMORY! Cinema Association, an international non-governmental organization, dedicated to the preservation of film and cultural memory worldwide. The Association is currently working on the Myanmar Film Heritage Project, a long-term mission that aims to recover and restore works of national significance and to establish a national film and media archive which would encourage historical research and function as a preservation and restoration facility.

Once a year, for the duration of ten days, Yangon becomes the capital of Worldwide Cinema Heritage in Southeast Asia.


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In 2018, MEMORY! explored the challenging and exciting theme “Press and Democracy on Silver Screen“ which follows last year’s focus on “Banned Films and Censorship“. Twenty classics and recent works aimed to present various aspects of journalism though the eyes of film directors from around the world, and at different epochs. Stretching from 1928 to 1998, this year’s selection paints the complex gamut between journalistic heroism and manipulation, fearlessness and compromises to power.

Alongside the main theme, the film line-up included two additional sections: a Tribute to Colombia with thirteen heritage and recent works, and a section prepared entirely by the team of 3-Act, the recently created Myanmar Cinema magazine.

The 2018 Films


As has become customary each year, the festival once again presented the very popular Ciné-Concerts featuring live musical accompaniment to classics from the silent screen. At the Waziya cinema, MEMORY! presented “The Cameraman“ by Buster Keaton with accompaniment under the direction of U Kyi Soe Tun and “Man with a Movie Camera“ by Dziga Vertov with an live original creation by famous Myanmar musician Itö. At Mahabandoola Park, MEMORY! celebrated Myanmar’s glorious cinematic past once again by screening the earliest surviving Myanmar film found to date, “Mya Ga Naing“ directed by Maung Tin Maung and restored in 2016.

In addition, the festival featured new exhibitions at the Waziya Cinema, in particular one about the famous German “Spiegel Affair“. Regarding the annual conference, it was held for the first time at the Secretariat, an iconic place in Yangon.


In 2018, the festival has the immense pleasure to welcome following artists: French actress Clotilde Courau, Director Phan Dang Di (Vietnam), Directors Moe May Myat Zarchi & Aung Phyoe (Myanmar), Director Min Bahadur Bham (Nepal), Director Kiri Dalena (Philipines), Director Kavich Neang (Cambodia) & Director Aung Min (Myanmar).
And also, for public discussion and run workshops: Producer Tran Bing Ngoc (Vietnam), Producer Rémi Burah (France), Programer Park Sungho (Korea), Distributor Vincent Paul-Boncour (France), Journalist Eko Maryadi (Indonesia), Tim Aye-Hardy from NGO myME (Myanmar), Chief-editor Sonny Swe (Myanmar), Prof. Ma Thida (Myanmar), Prof. Suresh Chabria (India), Prof. Howard Besser (USA), Prof. Roland Tolentino (Philipines) among others.

During the past editions, our distinguished Patrons Catherine Deneuve (France) and Grace Swe Zin Htaik (Myanmar) are joined by celebrated Malaysian filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang, Leading actor Lee Kang Sheng, Director Tan Pin Pin (Singapore), Director Midi Z (Taiwan), Director Eddie Cahyono (Indonesia), Directors Michel Hazanavicius & Olivier Assayas (France), Actress Cheng Pei Pei (China), Actress Michelle Yeoh (Malaysia), Actor Wyne (Myanmar), Actress Phway Phway (Myanmar), Directors Pascale Ferran, Davy Chou, Régis Wargnier (France) and many more…


MEMORY! Festival presents each year an international conference. It is on a topic closely related to the main theme of the festival.
After 2017 and the theme of THE CENSORSHIP, the 2018 Memory’s conference have focused on PRESS & DEMOCRACY ON SILVER SCREEN.

The topic arrives at a critical historical juncture in which journalists and the media more generally are under siege from multiple angles. Alongside the screenings of classics and modern movies, the conference explored a series of necessary questions about how journalists, members of the media, artists, filmmakers, bloggers and even everyday social media users can understand today’s mediascape and participate in respectful and democratic exchanges of news and opinions.
This conference aimed to pull back the curtain and to bring out into the open a world often hidden from view: the social, political, professional, and personal lives of journalists in search of Truth. These stories are so abstract that they have only been successfully portrayed through film where romanticized heroines and heroes risk everything to bring us even just a tiny step closer to understanding the political and economic systems that run our worlds. Our focus on Press and Democracy (at the Movies) was a cross-disciplinary conversation between film and media scholars, journalists, and activists. Myanmar and international presenters joined us in addressing this topic from a variety of perspectives including case studies, theoretical investigations, problem-oriented arguments, and comparative analyses. Thanks to its interdisciplinary nature, the conference generated important discussions about the role of Freedom and the function of a Press in Democracies across various historical and geopolitical contexts.

The speakers invited were: Prof. Howard Besser (USA), Prof. Suresh Chabria (India), Educator Tim Aye-Hardy (Myanmar), Journalist Sonny Swe (Myanmar), Dr Ma Thida (Myanmar), Prof. Roland Tolentino (Philippines), Journalist Eko Maryadi (Indonesia) & Activist Filmmaker Kiri Dalena (Philippines).

The 2018 conference was held Nov 10 at the Secretariat, Yangon.
The conference was organized by Dr. Paul Grant (Professor Graduate Cinema Studies, University of San Carlos, Philippines) & Theo Stojanov (PhD candidate, Film & Moving Image Studies, Concordia University, Canada).


Myanmar Script Fund

Myanmar Script Fund is a program for emerging local filmmakers working on their first or second full-length feature film. MSF is intended to help connect filmmakers from Myanmar with international audiences.
The 4th edition of MSF taken place during MEMORY! festival from Nov. 13 to 19, 2019 at the Film Development Center (FDC), Yangon.
The application is now open. Please apply with the official form. The deadline for submission is Oct 1st, 2019.

MSF Application Form 2019MSF General Rules

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 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) and in 2017 by the director Midi Z (Taiwan). In 2018, it was chaired by Vietnamese director Phan Dang Di.

Previous awarded projects:

MSF Laureates 2018
THE BEER GIRL OF YANGON by Sein Lyan Tun. Producer John Badalu
30,000 USD of in-kind post-production from Digital District.
SHE CALLED IT FREEDOM by Myat Minn Khant. Producer Khin Warso
Khin Warso, an highly promising female producer, will be invited to participate in a week-long producers’ Lab at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland in August 2019 which will help her develop her skills.

MSF Laureates 2017
FRUIT GATHERING by Aung Phyoe. Producer Aung Phyoe
WAY BACK HOME by Nay Chi Myat Noe Wint. Producer Kaung Sint                                                   .

MSF Laureates 2016
FOUR LEGS by Mg Sun. Producer Ma Aeint
SATURDAY BORN ARIES by Nwaye Zar Che Soe. Producer Soe Arkar Htun

The Myanmar Script Fund works in close collaboration with Open Doors, a program managed by the Festival Locarno (Switzerland). It is supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (Switzerland), Forever Group (Myanmar), Arte (France), Institut français (France), Canal+ Myanmar, Digital District (France) & Transition (Czech Republique).

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 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 by Chris Peken from MJI then by French journalists Carol Isoux & Jérôme Boruszewski.
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).

In 2018, 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

Forever Group
Canal+ Myanmar
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
Embassy of United States of America in Myanmar
Centre National du Cinéma
Digital District
Pan Pacific Yangon

Myanmar Motion Picture Organisation
Embassy of Colombia in Thailand
Open Doors (Locarno Festival)
Yoma Bank
Goethe Institut
Secretariat Yangon
Myanmar Journalism Institute
Gulliver Travels
Coca Cola

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

© Stephen Kelly

Myanmar Film Heritage Project

The Myanmar Film Heritage Project (MFHP) will take place over a period ending in 2020, for the 100th anniversary of the Myanmar cinema history. The project is developed by the MEMORY! Cinema Association (INGO) committed to safeguarding worldwide cinema heritage.

The project is comprised of three foundational components:

The Lost Film Search and the Restoration of Myanmar Classics programs 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, one of the key directors of classic Myanmar cinema, restored in 2016 and PYO CHIT LIN (1950) by Tin Myint restored in 2017.

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.

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.

MEMORY! 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.