Burmese Director Wins Prizes at European Film Festivals

By Samantha Michaels 1 July 2014

RANGOON — A Burmese director has won an award for the best international film at the world’s longest continually running film festival.

Shan State native Midi Z, now based in Taiwan, claimed the prize at the 68th annual Edinburgh International Film Festival for his third feature film, “Ice Poison,” set in his hometown, Lashio.

The festival, which closed on Sunday, showed 122 new features from 47 countries. Ten other films were nominated for the best international film.

“Ice Poison” tells the story of a young farmer who becomes involved in the drug trade after facing economic hardship in Shan State, which is notorious for the cultivation of opium poppy.

Also last week, Midi Z was named best director for the same film at the Peace & Love Film Festival in Sweden.

“Ice Poison” has not been officially released in Burma because the director did not have a permit to film in the country.

“The filmmaking was very improvised, we hadn’t planned in advance to shoot, so we didn’t apply for permission. When a DVD is released, I will put the film online—I made it for everyone,” he told The Irrawaddy in an earlier interview.