The first Voice of America Award for a Human Rights Short Film or Documentary was presented on June 19 at the Fourth Annual Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival in Yangon, Myanmar.
VOA Burmese Service Chief Than Lwin Htun was among the three judges who selected the winner from twenty-one entries in the category. Yoe Myae Kya [Lovely Bones], a 17-minute film directed by Nwaye Zar Che Soe, won the VOA Award by documenting the struggle of a disabled man and his family in a remote Myanmar village. The film tells a story of resilience and the need for social welfare support for people with disabilities in the country.
“The Voice of America reports on human rights, democracy and freedom around the world. As a news organization, VOA reports on human right abuses wherever they may happen. We also support activities, like this film festival, that promote the values of human rights and human dignity,” said Than Lwin Htun.
In her acceptance speech, Nwaye Zar Che Soe noted that “in Burma, there is little consideration for the special needs of disabled persons. Burma has ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, disabled individuals do not get equal rights with others. I believe I got this award because I promote the rights of disabled persons in the country.”
The Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival has been organized by the Human Dignity Film Institute (HDFI) in Yangon since 2013. HDFI also organizes local film festivals throughout Myanmar. During the past three years, more than 70 film festivals have been coordinated by the Institute, reaching an estimated audience of more than 80,000 people. HDFI also trains filmmakers of various ethnic groups in the production of human rights documentaries.