Tuesday, August 16, 2011

‘Crossing Salween’ to be shown in Los Angeles

Tuesday, 16 August 2011 12:59 Mizzima News

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Getting the subject of Burma onto the Hollywood movie circuit is tough but the makers of “Crossing Salween” hope their video will encourage investors to fund a full movie version.

“Crossing Salween,” a 20-minute video short, will be shown at Laemmle Theatre in Los Angeles on August 26, 27 and 28, after a change to the schedule.

Irish film producer Gary Moore said the film, based on a Karen girl who flees the fighting in Burma, is a story that also throws light on the reality of Karen life and the lives of Burmese in general.

“We hope it raises awareness of the situation there in the wider world,” Moore told Mizzima recently.

The film stars 11-year-old Karen refugee Ronnachai Mai Whittio, or Mai for short, who Moore found through “street casting”––searching for talent among non-professionals to play the lead role, as happened with the casting of slum children in the 2008 Hollywood hit, “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Moore said the young girl was “a natural” for the part.

The filmmaker said he became concerned about the plight of Karen villagers, caught up since 1949 in the world’s longest civil war, when he was asked to mount a photographic exhibition on Burmese refugees. He visited the Thai-Burmese border region, and on his return to Ireland wrote a short story, titled “Ko Reh,” the name of its central character, a 9-year-old Karen girl who flees into the jungle when the Burmese army burns down her village and slaughters the inhabitants. With the aid of a mysterious hunter, she sets out on an arduous trek to safety over the border in Thailand.

Los Angeles is just the latest venue for a showing of “Crossing Salween.” The film, that has the backing of the Irish Film Board, has been shown in Fort Wayne, in the US, and at festivals in Berlin, Dublin, Cork and Sydney, winning accolades at each screening. Further screenings are planned at other film festivals, while Moore and his team look for the US$ 2.1 million to fund a full-length feature.

Humanity, not politics, is the main thrust of both the pilot and planned full-length feature film that Moore’s Dublin-based film company, Red Rage, hopes to make.

The film will be shown Aug. 26-28 in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Theatre http://www.laemmle.com/

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