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Dear Daughter (2023)

Dear Daughter

Tricked into marriage, far from home

December, 2023
KIN International Women's Film Festival
Best Short Film Award
Yerevan, Armenia


A young Burmese woman who was trafficked to China and sold into marriage tells her story. Based on the real-life protagonist’s own words and beautifully rendered in pen-and-ink, this animation portrays a woman torn between her love for the child she was forced to bear and her longing for the country to which she may never be able to return.

Director's Statement

‘I was drawn to the idea of telling a story about trafficking but did not want to make an issue-led film. A friend put me in touch with the protagonist in my story and I began talking to her in far-off southeastern China via Viber. Over a period of several months, as we talked about such things as our memories of childhood and our relationships to our mothers, I managed to form a bond with this young woman who I had never met. Gradually, she began sharing what had happened to her. What struck me was that, although she had been abused in this way, she had chosen to make the best of things and did not come across as a victim. I knew at once that I wanted to put her personal emotional journey at the centre of the film because this would allow the viewer to connect to her experience. This is why the story unfolds in the protagonist’s own words. The film’s visual style was inspired by Chinese ink wash paintings. The lullaby she sings to her daughter is one I remember my mother singing to me as a child and is sung here by the protagonist herself.’

Director's Biography

Hsu Pan Naing was born in Yangon in 1997. The daughter of a writer, she grew up surrounded by the books of her mother and many other writers and soon fell in love with storytelling. After graduating in journalism, she was hired by The Myanmar Times as a video journalist. Keen to explore the moving image further, she gave up her job to attend the Yangon Film School in 2020, and has since worked in various roles including sound recordist on The Singing Bookman (Dir. Nan Cho Lae Yee Thein) and camera assistant on fellow-student Kaung Swar Thar’s Pilikan – A Hindu Temple in Thanylin in Myanmar. Her first brush with animation was Reborn, a short film she co-created with other students during a YFS Animation & Mixed Media course in 2021. Developed at a time when the pandemic and the military coup made independent filmmaking in Myanmar more challenging than ever, her first film as a director – the animated documentary Dear Daughter – was almost two years in the making. She has since directed her first short fiction Lost Girl, based on a script funded by Myanmar Script Fund, and is currently developing a personal documentary about her novelist mother.

Awards & Nominations

December, 2023
KIN International Women's Film Festival
Best Short Film Award
Yerevan, Armenia
December, 2023
This Human World – International Human Rights Film Festival
Nomination for Exp:anded Short Award
Vienna, Austria
December, 2023
46th Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Youth
Nomination for Best Short Animation Film
Pyrgos and Amaliada, Greece
November, 2023
20th Verzio Human Rights Film Festival
Nomination for Best Debut and Student Film
Budapest, Hungary


February, 2024
KAP Community
Yerevan, Armenia
December, 2023
11th Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival
Kathmandu, Nepal
April, 2023
Vision du Réel - Festival International de Cinéma Nyon
World Premiere
Nyon, Switzerland

Director's Filmography

Dear Daughter






Sound Recordist



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