Burma VJ delves into the world of Burma’s video journalists, who insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country despite risking torture and life in jail. The film was nomianted for the Best Documentary (Feature) Oscar and won the prize for the Best Cinema Documentary at the Grierson Awards. Using the stories and footage of these VJ's, Burma VJ exposed the atrocities taking place under the Military regime in Burma.
The film saw the Co-operative and Dogwoof unite for the release, with a nationwide Saffron Premiere of Burma VJ across 40 cinemas, which were live satellite-linked to BAFTA in London. The film was introduced by Dame Vivienne Westwood and followed by a Q&A with the director and one of the Burmese Video Journalist's for Democratic Voice of Burma. After the film a special message was broadcast from Richard Gere, thanking everyone for attending, and thanking the filmmakers for the brave piece of cinema just witnessed.
Burma VJ also became the first film to be shown at 10 Downing Street, hosted by Sarah Brown. The event raised awareness for the growing global campaign – 64 Words for Aung San Suu Kyi – created by Burma Campaign UK, which put pressure on Burma’s Military regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi before the elections. Director Østergaard was present at No.10 Downing Street and participated in a discussion led by Ivan Lewis, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, afterwards.
Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest late last year and since the films release 3 of the Burma VJs have successfully seeked asylum in the UK.
The €50,000 Creative Impact award will honour and support the documentary film that has made the most significant impact on society. The top films cover topics ranging from environmental issues to social justice and global conflict, and all five documentaries have enlightened and inspired individuals about global concerns. The winner will be chosen by an elite jury that includes: Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, Morgan Spurlock (Academy Award-nominated Director of Super Size Me), Orlando Bagwell (Director of the JustFilms initiative at the Ford Foundation), Emmanuel Jal (musician and activist), and Thandie Newton (BAFTA award-winning actress).