Myanmar Short Film Opposing Junta Wins Three Awards at Int’l Film Festival

By The Irrawaddy 8 May 2023

The short film “The Way”, directed by singer Lynn Lynn, an anti-military dictatorship artist, won three awards on Saturday from Festigious, a monthly film and screenplay competition promoting independent filmmakers.

“The Way”, a musical film performed by artists opposed to the military dictatorship in Myanmar, was shot on a mobile phone. The film received Festigious’ Best Musical, Best First Time Director and Best Song awards for April.

The awards follow the film’s recent success at the World Film Carnival-Singapore, where it won awards in the categories of Narrative Feature, Best Film Score-Soundtrack and Mobile Film.

Singer and actress Chit Thu Wai, wife of Lynn Lynn, said, “Our Team is on Cloud nine” on her Facebook post, announcing the Festigious awards.

“Give me a chance to be happy and brag, whether it’s a big prize or a small one,” Chit Thu Wai said.

Arrest warrants were issued for Lynn Lynn and Chit Thu Wai over their opposition to the 2021 military coup, and their house was sealed off by the military council after the takeover.

Since then, the couple have participated in the revolution against the regime through their art and promotion of fundraising campaigns.

Last week, “The Way” also won Best Mobile Phone Feature Film at the Cannes World Film Festival for April. So far, the film has won seven awards at three international film festivals.

Another revolutionary short film by Lynn Lynn, “The Beginning”, won four awards at three international film festivals: The Short Film and Free Speech awards at the World Film Carnival-Singapore; Best Education Film at the Cannes World Film Festival; and Best Short Film at the Korean International Film Festival-2023.

Lynn Lynn said, “Firstly, I congratulate all the team members of the two films. I am proud of the fact that they worked hard to create art together with the public without falling before the military boots, and showed resilience while the dogs’ fleas bit them,” he said, referring to the regime’s attempts to oppress and persecute them.

Meanwhile, the military regime held its own Motion Picture Academy Awards presentation ceremony in its capital Naypyitaw on Saturday for the years of 2019, 2020 and 2022, after the industry was halted by the pandemic and military coup.

Many famous actors and actresses were in attendance, including Lu Min, Pay Ti Oo and his wife Endra Kyaw Zin, and Paing Tagon—all of whom were arrested for participation in anti-regime protests following the coup but later released. Pay Ti Oo and Endra Kyaw Zin won awards.

Regime spokesperson and Deputy Information Minister Zaw Min Tun (left) arrives at the Motion Picture Academy Awards presentation ceremony in the capital Naypyitaw on May 6, 2023.

Successive military regimes in Myanmar have used artists for propaganda purposes by using a carrot and stick approach, especially with those who opposed them.

“We understand that Endra Kyaw Zin and other artists who were against the regime were forced to attend the ceremony as they have no choice,” a Yangon resident said.

Prior to the coup, Myanmar’s academy awards ceremony was a public frenzy, with audiences poring over which actress was wearing what outfit, and which awards went to whom.

However, the regime’s lavish ceremony on Saturday did not attract such attention. On Myanmar’s favorite social media platform, Facebook, few users shared pictures of the event—in contrast to 2019—or discussed who won the Best Actor award.

Instead, Chit Thu Wai’s post about the awards for her husband’s film “The Way” earned 183,000 likes and was shared 18,000 times—the biggest public response to any of her recent posts.