International Film Festivals Condemn Myanmar Coup – Deadline

The situation in Myanmar remains dire, warned the International Coalition of Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR), with prominent cultural figures continuing to be imprisoned and in some cases even killed. To date, more than 100 professionals from the local film community have been targeted for arrest, he said.

As Deadline reported in February, the country’s military forces, known as Tatmadaw, seized power in the country after contesting an election result in November that saw a landslide victory for Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, the NLD.

Widespread protests in response to the action have seen thousands of protesters thrown in jail and apparently more than 700 dead, while three prominent NLD members also died in police custody, according to Reuters.

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CIIF said the first day of the coup saw three screenwriters – Than Myint Aung, Maung Thar Cho and Htin Lin Oo – arrested along with filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi. On February 21, famous Burmese actor Lu Min was arrested for allegedly inciting officials to join the civil disobedience movement.

On April 6, satirist and humorist Zarganar, a longtime critic of the military regime, was arrested. Singer Saw Phoe Khwar and music producer U Kyi Win were also jailed. Last week, director Christina Kyi and actor Zenn Kyi were arrested at an airport as they tried to flee the country, as reported Reuters.

Arrest warrants have also been issued against many other personalities in literature, film, theater, music and the internet, which the ICFR says is an attempt by the Tatmadaw to crack down. against freedom of expression. Many of those targeted have fled the country or are in hiding.

Three days ago, the Tatmadaw reportedly ordered the release of 23,184 prisoners from prisons across the country as part of a New Year’s amnesty. However, it is understood that the majority of these people were arrested before the coup. of February 1 and are therefore unrelated to the protests. Aung San Suu Kyi is still locked up.

ICFR, which was launched at the Venice Film Festival in 2020 by the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival and the European Film Academy, calls for the release of those arrested in as part of a joint action with Artists at Risk Connection, PEN America and Freemuse.

“We warmly condemn the shameful and brutal actions of the military and police against the Myanmar arts community [and] demand the immediate release of artists from the film community, ”said Mike Downey, ICFR board member. “Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. This right includes the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference from public authority and regardless of frontiers. “

A separate statement was also released today by a film festival collective led by the Busan Film Festival in Korea, according to the Korea Times.

“We strongly condemn the ruthless slaughter of peaceful protesters and call for an end to all violence. We also call for an immediate end to the research and imprisonment of filmmakers who attempt to speak the truth by resisting the coup. We urge the military to immediately hand over its power to the legitimate democratic government chosen by its people, ”the statement read.

A press conference will be held on April 30 at the Jeonju International Film Festival in Korea to express support for Myanmar’s film community.

On March 30, Korean actors Park Ho-san and Jin Sun-kyu took to social media to post photos of themselves giving a salute inspired by The hunger Games to show support for the people of Myanmar.

“Even now the people of Myanmar are threatened by soldiers who should be defending them. Sadly, Korea had a similar story in which the military took control of the country. I will pray for Myanmar for a democratic spring to come to the country, ”Park said on Instagram.

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