​5 unmissable Myanmar documentaries at the Wathann Film Fest

The fifth annual Wathann Film Fest kicks off today at Yangon’s Waziya Cinema on Bogyoke Street Aung San Road.

Documentary and short films by more than 40 local and international filmmakers will be screened over five days – with several awards to be handed out on Sunday.

That’s a lot of movie time. So let us break it down for you. Here are 5 non-fiction films by local directors likely to appeal to the documentary fans among you.

(The films are screened in batches of four – from 1pm to 4pm, 3:30pm to 5pm, and 6pm to 8pm – so the below times will not be exact.)

U Myint Lwin runs a fish business down at the Yangon city docks.  It’s a tough job but he has one great joy in life: football. He’s so devoted that he asks his whole staff to wear Chelsea FC to work everyday so that he can surround himself with his favorite team. A hilarious story elegantly told by award-winning director Lamin Oo.
September 9, 1pm.
September 12, 3:30pm.


Meet Myat Su Wai, one of Yangon’s only female bus conductors. Public transport in the city is notoriously uncomfortable for women – who are often subject to harassment and groping. This short from director Daw Ngwe Ngwe Khine follows Myat Su Wai’s attempts to balance her long days on the buses with raising her daughter.
September 11, 3:30pm.
September 12, 6pm.


Another slice of life – this time, set in a barber shop. Ko Tin Htun cuts the hair of rich and poor alike. He’s a philosophical soul and, in between the nipping and cutting, talks to the camera about the past half century in Myanmar. Yangon Film School graduate Anna Biak Tha Mawi’s directorial debut has been praised as a warm, accomplished work.
September 9, 1pm. 
September 12, 1pm.


This nine-minute film follows the people who trap sparrows for a living, those who release them at pagodas to gain spiritual merit. But at the heart of the story are the birds themselves.
September 10, 3:30pm.
September 12, 1pm.


This one is bound to tug on the heartstrings: it’s a 25-minute film documenting kids, who make their living as garbage collectors among the 16th century pagodas at tourist site Mrauk Oo, northern Rakhine State. “This is not a Rakhine ethnic story,” director Ko Than Kyaw Htay told the Myanmar Times. “I wanted to tell a real story and show people what is happening in Mrauk Oo. The film follows the life of a boy who is desperate for love and friendship.”
September 11, 1pm. 
September 12, 6pm.

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