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IDFA '08 | "Burma VJ" & Girl Talk Doc, "RIP," in Fest Spotlight on IDFA's Awards Night

By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire December 1, 2008 at 12:00AM

Anders Ostergaard's "Burma VJ - Reporting From a Closed Country" was without question the buzz title of IDFA 2008. The story of last year's uprising against the military dictatorship in Myanmar, told through secret home video footage, offers 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 tonight at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. The film also finished near the top in audience award balloting, but that prize went to Brett Gaylor's "RiP: A Remix Manifesto."
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Anders Ostergaard's "Burma VJ - Reporting From a Closed Country" was without question the buzz title of IDFA 2008. The story of last year's uprising against the military dictatorship in Myanmar, told through secret home video footage, offers 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 tonight at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. The film also finished near the top in audience award balloting, but that prize went to Brett Gaylor's "RiP: A Remix Manifesto."

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. An award winner at the recent doc festival in Copenhagan, "Burma VJ" is set for a stateside festival debut early next year (but those involved with the film declined to announce their plans on the record).

With popular D.J. Girl Talk at the heart of the story, "RiP: A Remix Manifesto" garnered considerable attention during the event, the world's largest documentary film festival. Known for his intricate mash-up work, Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) goes under the microscope to demonstrate how he constructs music by sampling multiple pop tracks, and he joins a chorus of folks defending his use the samples to create new music. As reported in indieWIRE's recent dispatch from Montreal's Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Brett Gaylor's documentary "RiP" explores the legal and artistic ramifications of the mash-up. An Open Source Cinema project, the doc devles into contemporary copyright issues. As the filmmaker recently told indieWIRE's Peter Knegt at the Montreal fest, "I wanted to document and explore the war of ideas between those who want to share ideas - the Copyleft - and those who want to lock up ideas - the copyright."

The cold weather this year didn't deter audiences from coming out to the ten doc day festival. IDFA reported increased ticket sales and overall attendance compared to last year's festival, though the number of international attendees dropped compared to the fest's previous edition. Also popular were the nightly "Talk Shows" with special guests talking about the issues and subjects raised by various films programmed this year. Screenings continue through Sunday (November 30).

The full list of winners:

Joris Ivens Competition
"Burma VJ - Reporting From a Closed Country," directed by Anders Ostergaard

Silver Wolf Competition
"Boris Ryzhy," directed by Aliona van der Horst

Silver Cub Competition
"Slaves - An Animated Documentary," directed by Hanna Heilbronn and David Aronowitsch

First Appearance Award
"Constantin and Elena," directed by Andrei Dascalescu

IDFA Student Award
"Shakespeare and Victor Hugo's Intimacies," direct by Yulene Olaizola

Dioraphte Audience Award
"RiP - A Remix Manifesto," by Brett Gaylor

Movies that Matter Human Rights Award
"Burma VJ - Reporting From a Closed Country," directed by Anders Ostergaard

DOC U! Award
"Kassim the Dream," directed by Kief Davidson

The Dutch Cultural Broadcasting Fund Award for Documentary 2008
"Monsters Under the Bed," by Sarah Mathilde Domogala

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This article is related to: Documentary, Festival Dispatch





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