Aung San Film Won’t Screen in Time for General’s Centennial Birthday

By San Yamin Aung 13 February 2014

RANGOON — The first-ever film depicting Burma’s national hero Gen. Aung San will not be completed by 2015 as originally intended, a target date set to allow for its premiere on the general’s 100th birthday, a member of the production’s executive board says.

“Bogyoke Aung San Film won’t premiere in 2015 but to finish shooting in 2015 is our intention,” Zaw Thet Htwe from the Bogyoke Aung San Film’s executive board told The Irrawaddy on Thursday, the anniversary of what would have been Aung San’s 99th birthday.

He said two factors had delayed the film’s production schedule: a revamping of the script and a failure to secure the financial backing required of the project.

“We wrote the script in the Burmese language and translated it, but when international movie companies read the script, they said that it was more like a documentary than a film, and they wanted to improve it in line with international standards. But on our side, we don’t want to modify the Bogyoke [‘general’ in Burmese] biography too much,” he said. “This is one difficulty.”

Zaw Thet Htwe added that the film would require about US$25 million to meet an international standard, but fundraising efforts thus far have come to only about 200 million kyats (US$200,000) in donations.

“We invited international professionals to review the script and to arrange to get the required financing,” he said.

Zaw Thet Htwe said that since the film was first conceived of two years ago, organizers of the project had set up the executive board; chose actors to play the roles of Aung San and his wife Khin Kyi; completed trainings for the cast; wrote, edited and translated the movie’s script; and consulted with international film industry players, including companies from Canada, Japan and France.

“We gave military training to the actor who will play Gen. Aung San’s role and nursing training for the actress who will act as Khin Kyi, who was a nurse, in addition to providing acting training to others,” he said.

Two prominent scriptwriters, together with the support of eight historians and four directors, wrote the screenplay. Aung San will be played by Kyaw Kyaw Myo, and his wife will be played by Zar Chi Lin.

Aung San, widely considered to be the father of modern Burma, led the country’s struggle for independence against colonial Britain, but was assassinated just months before that dream was fully realized.

On Thursday, Bogyoke Aung San Film executive board members made an offering of food at a monastery in Rangoon to commemorate Aung San’s birthday, Zaw Thet Htwe said.