HBO has acquired TV rights to Anders Ostergaard’s doc “Burma VJ,” the hit of November’s IDFA. Set for its North American debut on Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival, the film will open theatrically at New York’s Film Forum in May, well ahead of its early 2010 HBO television debut.
The buzz title of IDFA ’08 back in November, the film looks at last year’s uprising against the military dictatorship in Myanmar, told through secret home video footage and offering a direct look at the movement and it’s organizers. “Burma” won both the Joris Ivens Competition for feature length films and received the Movies That Matter prize at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (and finished near the top in audience award balloting). It was also an award winner at the recent doc festival in Copenhagen.
The mass demonstrations in Rangoon, involving Buddist Monks, drew international attention through secret video footage of a band of journalists known as the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) that was smuggled out of the country and beamed around the world.
Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment and Esther van Messel of First Hand Films negotiated the pact HBO Documentary Films. Braun plans to meet with theatrical and DVD distributors here in Park City to explore partnerships for the theatrical and home video releases of the film.