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Behind the Screen (2012)

Behind the Screen

The story of a Burmese marriage

March, 2014
Salaya Documentary Film Festival
BEST ASEAN DOCUMENTARY
Bangkok, Thailand
September, 2012
Wathann Film Fest #2
BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM
Yangon, Myanmar

Synopsis

A son dissects his parents’ marriage – they were film icons in 1960s Myanmar. It turns out the heartrending scenes they acted out on the silver screen are a pretty accurate reflection of their real lives. While the camera slides across the glamour photos from their heyday, the filmmaker looks on, entranced. He grapples with the incredible fame of his parents. Now that he is reconstructing their relationship, he sees the old film footage through different eyes – as if it might contain the answers he didn’t get as a child, when his parents separated. This merging of family history and film excerpts creates a magical mix of fact and fiction, or – as the son calls it – “the real and the celluloid wedding.” The son’s public revelation of how things went wrong is an emancipatory act, as divorce is still a big taboo in Myanmar. But the filmmaker doesn’t publically jump onto the barricades. Rather, he keeps things personal, showing the pain caused by the divorce, both for him as a child and for his parents. He also shows how, 50 years ago, ambitions in Myanmar in the area of film were in line with Hollywood: the first film his parents appeared in together was called Sweet Sixteen.

Director's Biography

Born in Yangon in 1970, Aung Nwai Htway studied law before taking a Forever Group course in editing and subsequently joining the NGO Population Services International (PSI) as an editor. Having joined Yangon Film School in 2006, in 2007 he tried his hand at directing for the first time with the short documentary A Piece of Eden about a young boy suffering from muscular dystrophy. He has since made numerous short documentaries and commercials for the development sector including a short film about a sex worker, Trying to Escape, and a documentary Escape from the Dead End in which a perspicacious Burmese cabin crew remembers how they successfully averted disaster during an emergency landing of their plane in 2012. Developed in cooperation with YFS, his 2012 documentary Behind the Screen is his most personal film, since it tells the painful story of his parents’ divorce, both of whom were Burmese film stars in the 1960s and 70s. This moving film won awards at Wathann Filmfest in Yangon in 2012 and at Salaya International Documentary Film Festival in Thailand in 2014; it also screened to acclaim at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam in 2013. He is currently working on the edit of Greener Pastures, a documentary about Myanmar refugees in northern Thailand, directed by fellow YFS alumnus’ Tin Win Naing.

Awards & Nominations

March, 2014
Salaya Documentary Film Festival
BEST ASEAN DOCUMENTARY
Bangkok, Thailand
September, 2012
Wathann Film Fest #2
BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM
Yangon, Myanmar

Screenings

April, 2018
Kineforum Southeast Asia Film Forum
Jakarta, Indonesia
June, 2015
RAI – International Festival of Ethnographic Film
London, England
March, 2015
Tampere Film Festival
Tampere, Finland
October, 2014
World Film Festival Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand
June, 2014
International Documentary Film Festival
Hanoi, Vietnam
April, 2014
Chop Shots Film Festival ASEAN
Jakarta, Indonesia
November, 2013
IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Director's Filmography

2014
Greener Pastures

Editor

0‘0‘‘

2013
Escape from the Dead End

Director / Cinematographer / Editor

25‘0‘‘

2012
Behind the Screen

Director / Editor / Screenplay

35‘0‘‘

2010
Landing on the Beautiful Land

Director / Cinematographer / Sound/Editor

22‘0‘‘

2009

23‘0‘‘

2008
Rays Of Hope

Director / Editor

15‘56‘‘

2008
After the Nargis

Editor

25‘0‘‘

2007

Director & Editor

15‘36‘‘

Pictures

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