Myanmar Year Zero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An award-winning documentary short

Filmmakers Michael Henry Wilson and Carole J. Wilson have always been deeply interested in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. They see this film Myanmar Year Zero as the third part of a trilogy. In Search of Kundun exemplified the wisdom of the Dalai Lama. .Reconciliation: Mandela’s Miracle celebrated Nelson Mandela’s brilliant statesmanship.  Myanmar Year Zero will illuminate the spirit of peaceful revolution as embodied by pro-democracy advocates who endured years of imprisonment and torture in the struggle for freedom.

The spirit of peace and reconciliation is tested during the tumultuous transition from a military regime to a quasi-democracy in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Our documentary catches up with the country as it undergoes major transformations politically, economically and spiritually. It addresses the results of the surprising reforms following the 2011 general elections that inaugurated greater freedom of press, the opening of trade with the international community and the release of many political prisoners.

The documentary is conceived as an emotional journey into a country entering the modern world after being sealed off from the international community for over sixty years. Following a century of colonization by the British, Myanmar won its freedom in 1947. However, internal strife soon erupted and the Burmese military stepped in, seizing power and establishing an iron grip on its citizens. Despite a democratic election in 2015 that saw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy gain a majority in Parliament, the military maintains control over the most important sectors of government.

Time will tell if recent developments mark the first steps toward real liberalization and national reconciliation, or if the influence of the military and its cronies will prevail.

The filmmakers had unique access to leading figures in the struggle for freedom, many of whom had just been released from prison or returned from exile in the 2012 amnesty. The film is a unique view of Myanmar as it stands at a critical juncture; the well being of its people hangs in the balance. The story of Myanmar is a human story that is at once unique and universal.

The first shoot to place in 2012, when Suu Kyi addressed the Burmese community in Los Angeles. Most of the ex-patriots in the audience had never seen her before. A second shoot took place in Myanmar in March, 2014, where the Wilson’s conducted 22 in-depth interviews with former political prisoners and government figures as well as capturing the charm – and poverty – of this once isolated nation.

Woman and child

Woman and child begging for food outside a Bagan restaurant

Shortly after returning from Myanmar, Michael Wilson was diagnosed with cancer. He died peacefully at home on June 26, 2014. Carole Wilson will complete the film in memory of her husband  –  and for all those who died in the struggle for freedom and human dignity.

For more information go to www.myanmaryearzero.com