Welcome to the 5th edition of MEMORY! International Film Heritage Festival! The festival focuses on worldwide and regional cinema heritage, and is unique to this part of the world.
In Myanmar since 2014, MEMORY! Festival has established a base in a country 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 heritage, 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.
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 MEMORY! Cinema 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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This year we explore the provocative theme of Banned Film Around the World through a selection of 20 masterpieces that were prevented from reaching the public at various times and in different contexts. The program touches on topics such as the World Wars, the Communist regime, colonialism, the Cold War, ethnic representation, moral outrage, religious and cultural conflicts. Viewers can learn more about the films by way of special introductions given by our distinguished guests.
Alongside the main theme, the festival includes several sub-sections: Myanmar Film Treasures presents recently restored Myanmar classics; the films of Jacques Tati follow the misadventures of the bumbling character Monsieur Hulot, and the feel-good magic of Frank Capra shows us the origins of the American dream. In the Guests section we bring you contemporary works by some of Southeast Asia’s most influential contemporary filmmakers. Completing the program are exclusive selections drawn from StudioCanal and Gaumont’s impressive catalogues, and a series of Special Screenings featuring the finest of what MEMORY! has to offer.
As has become customary each year, MEMORY! will once again present the very popular Ciné-Concerts featuring live musical accompaniment to classics from the silent screen. In addition, this year we will continue the extremely popular outdoor screenings and feature new exhibitions during the festival!
Films of the Past and films of Tomorrow are pivotal themes, through which we aim to establish a dialogue, a continuity, and a cultural exchange through cinema by enabling inspiring encounters between artists and the public. In this spirit, MEMORY! Festival carries out several exceptional programs: The Myanmar Script Fund, a writing workshop for emerging filmmakers; The Myanmar Film Heritage Project, a film preservation initiative which recently completed its second major restoration project; MEMORY! Journalism & Culture, which hosts a residency program for journalism students; a Conference on Film and Censorship, and last but not least, I Have A Dream, a film creation workshop for kids.
Our distinguished Patrons, multiple award-winning actresses Catherine Deneuve (France) and Grace Swe Zin Htaik (Myanmar) are joined by celebrated Malaysian filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang who, together with leading man Lee Kang Sheng will introduce screenings of his works. While Tsai Ming-liang’s films explore contemporary loneliness and social decay, Tan Pin Pin (Singapore) and Saw Tiong Guan’s (Malaysia) thought-provoking documentaries investigate belonging and the quintessence or memory and remembrance. Joining us again this year, Myanmar-born director Midi Z (Taiwan) and Eddie Cahyono (Indonesia) offer an unflinching look at migration and post-industrial realism. Midi Z takes over from Michel Hazanavicius as president of the Myanmar Script Fund. The Conference running alongside the festival includes local and international filmmakers and scholars, who will hold panels on Censorship and Screen Media Policy and on Censorship and Southeast Asian Filmmaking.
MEMORY! Festival 2017 presents an international conference on a topic closely related to the main theme of the festival, Banned Cinema: Censorship.
Over two days Myanmar and international panelists will discuss Censorship and Screen Media Policy and Censorship and Southeast Asian Filmmaking.
Participants include film critics, lawyers, directors, and film/media historians from Myanmar and abroad, who will explore topics such as practices & technologies of media classification under censorship, problematic media cultures, regulation of representations of gender & sexuality, digital & online censorship, oppositional voices, activism & the political arena, international narratives of censorship, avant-garde, regulation & government policy, the social effects of censorship, censorship as a stimulating factor, auto-censorship, allegory, and doublespeak.
The 2017 conference is 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 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 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.
The candidates presented also their projects during a pitch session in front of a jury comprised of international film experts and presided by the director Midi Z.
Two MSF projects was awarded Nov 7:
FRUIT GATHERING by Aung Phyoe
WAY BACK HOME by Nay Chi Myat Noe Wint
Digital District supports these two awards by offering each winner access to a bourse equivalent to 10 000 USD of post-production in Yangon.
The Myanmar Script Fund works in close collaboration with Open Doors, a program managed by the Festival Locarno (Switzerland), Yangon Film School (Myanmar) & Pen Myanmar (Myanmar). It is supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (Switzerland), ARTE (France) & Institut français (France).
Travelling MEMORY! Show
MEMORY! Film Festival is more than an event which takes place in Yangon. It’s also, thanks to the Travelling MEMORY! Show, a unique occasion for the residents of remote Myanmar communities to re-discover cinema.
On its inaugural tour in 2017-2018, Travelling MEMORY! Show will reach Myanmar communities along the border areas, where no ready access to electricity is available. We will screen the freshly restored versions of The Emerald Jungle (Mya Ga Naing, 1934) by Burmese director Maung Tin Maung, My Darling (Pyo Chit Lin, 1950) by Tin Myint, and other timeless classics.
MEMORY! International Film Heritage Festival
was proudly supported by the following Partners:
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, a cultural international non-governmental organization (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) restored this year.
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.