BURMA VJ: Anders Østergaard, Khin Maung Win Interview

    Liza Béar


    BURMA VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country , directed by Danish filmmaker Anders Østergaard uses camcorder and cellphone footage from undercover DVB reporters risking their lives. The story of the brutal quelling of the September 2007 monks' uprising is narrated by an unseen protagonist, Joshua, a twenty-seven-year-old reporter exiled in Thailand. A Sundance and Berlin festival award winner, the film has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

    Background—Burma, September 2007: An increase in fuel prices sparks extensive protests by students and activists against the military junta. For the first time, they are joined in the streets of Rangoon by thousands of Buddhist monks (the saffron revolution). While 100,000 people protest a repressive regime that has held the country hostage for over 40 years, foreign news crews are banned and the Internet is shut down. The Democratic Voice of Burma, a collective of 30 underground video journalists (VJs) record these dramatic events on handycams and cellphones and smuggle the footage out of the country, broadcasting it worldwide from Norway via satellite. Risking torture and life imprisonment, the VJs document the brutal clashes by the military and undercover police — themselves becoming the targets of the authorities.

    Interview with Anders Østergaard and Khin Maung Win, deputy director of the Democratic Voice of Burma in exile was filmed by Liza Béar and originally posted on www.squaringoff.blip.tv.