“Creativity brings inspiration and motivation to the people”
I first started filming because I wanted to record historical moments. In my country, we have a lot of half-truths and false history, which frustrated me.
I am a film lover and I believe film has a power to advocate for people. I was also interested in my countries politics as well.
I started shooting photo and video to record the historical moments and to pass this record over to the next generation. Over time, I was more into the art of story telling. I did some experimental projects to expand the limits of what was possible and I enjoyed this a lot. I also love to share it with as many people as possible. These are the driving forces behind why I want to film and be a part of the creative community.
I started filming with the handy cam I got as a present from my father in 2000. The first video I made was the breeding of the King Fisher bird at our compound. I enjoyed waiting to see how she dug a small hole, laid her eggs, hatched them and finally flew away with her new kids. I was waiting hours and hours to shoot her while she was feeding her kids in the hole. Actually, it is a really common home video but it was something that I really enjoyed doing.
As a professional, I started making documentary films for NGOs in 2009.
After I joined the art of story telling workshop at Yangon Film School in 2012,
I decided to live and die as a filmmaker the rest of my life.
Creativity in everyday life gives me great satisfaction. In Myanmar, creativity is suppressed with tradition and social taboos. Creativity usually has no limits but, in Myanmar, it is limited. The freedom of creativity and freedom of expression are always threatened by conservative culture, favoritism and totalitarians. The creative industry is the main target to attack when dictators are in power because creativity brings inspiration and motivation to the people.
The creative community is mostly in Yangon and Mandalay, the two largest cities in Myanmar. Yangon is the center of the creative community. This is not a really big community. I think more or less 10,000 people in total.
Artists led and were involved in many ways in the other uprisings in 1988 and 2007.
Sometimes, they become the icon of the revolution. But in the recent 2021 revolution, a lot more artists are joining the revolution. Many have been arrested and many have fled to the liberation areas, protected by ethnic armies.
Many artists especially painters and singers are more involved in revolution. Some are GenZ but most of them are not. Many open-minded people are more into fighting against the military. They want a good future with freedom and justice. Some of the older generation prefers nationalism rather than democracy. They believe that Buddhism could not blossom in a democratic country and they are proud that Myanmar is a Buddhist country. So, to stop Buddhism disappearing from the soil, they attack the democracy, alternative beliefs and freedom of expression.
Ex-military personnel and their families are the biggest supporters of the regime. Some rich tycoons and extreme nationalists also support them. Buddhist monks and conservative Buddhist people are also supporters of the military. All of them have received many advantages under the military rule rather than the democratic era, so do not want change.
The military always glorified themselves as a protector and savior of the country and Buddhism. They have many supporters who still believe this. The military have brainwashed people using propaganda, mainly targeted at those who believe in extreme nationalism and Buddhism. They put themselves and their followers in this box. They really hate to see and hear any alternative narrative that they fear could disgrace them. Creativity and freedom of expression are the biggest threats to them and their control over their believers.