Jailed Myanmar Actress Wins Top Award at German Film Festival

By The Irrawaddy 20 September 2021

Imprisoned Myanmar actress Eaindra Kyaw Zin has won the Best Performance Award at Germany’s Oldenburg International Film Festival.

The famous actress was arrested and jailed for anti-regime activities in early April and is currently spending her 164th day in Yangon’s Insein Prison, alongside thousands of other political prisoners.

She won the Seymour Cassel Best Performance Award for the melodrama What Happened to the Wolf? The movie follows two women who meet and fall in love while patients at a hospital for the terminally ill, with Eaindra Kyaw Zin and fellow Myanmar Motion Picture Academy Award winner Paing Phyoe Thu playing the women.

At the September 15 opening ceremony of the Oldenburg International Film Festival, the festival director Torsten Neumann and others wore t-shirts in honor of the detained actress.

Poster of What Happened to the Wolf?

Eaindra Kyaw Zin is among the highest-profile supporters of Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). She was arrested along with her husband Pyay Ti Oo, who is also a famous actor. The two face potential three-year prison terms for sedition for their opposition to the military regime

The couple, reputedly the highest-paid actors in Myanmar, joined street protests demanding a return to democracy following the junta’s February 1 coup. They urged civil servants to refuse to work for the regime and join the CDM.

What happened to the Wolf? is directed and produced by Na Gyi, who made the film before the coup. Na Gyi, along with his wife Paing Phyoe Thu, is in hiding after arrest warrants for sedition were issued for the couple for allegedly using their celebrity status to oppose the coup. Also in hiding are two other actors in the film, Kyaw Htet Aung and Aung Myint Myat.

Paing Phyoe Thu was also nominated for the Seymour Cassel Award for Best Performance.

The other star of the film Paing Phyoe Thu. Director Na Gyi (in middle) of the pic.

“Na Gyi’s What happened to the Wolf? and the performances of the lead actresses left us breathless,” said award-winning actress and festival jury member Deborah Kara Unger as she announced the award.

“We celebrate her [Eaindra Kyaw Zin] elegance, her soul, her invaluable gift to cinema with hope that this reaches her,” she added.

Over 8,200 civilians including protesters, activists, politicians and celebrities have been detained by the junta since the coup. Another 2,000-odd people are the subject of arrest warrants.

The junta has also banned the showing, broadcasting or publishing of works by artists arrested or wanted for their involvement in anti-regime activities.

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