Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

30 Jun, 2017

Asia Premiere of banned documentary film “Sittwe” on Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Bangkok – Sittwe is a short documentary about two teenagers affected by conflict in Burma’s Rakhine state. The film was banned to premiere at the Human Rights, Human Dignity International Film Festival in Myanmar by government censors. It will be shown at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok at 7pm, Wednesday July 5, 2017. 150 baht for non members, free for members.


The film revolves around interviews with two teenagers, a Muslim girl named Phyu Phyu Than and a Buddhist boy named Aung Khan Myint conducted over two years.

Both teens saw their homes burned down during communal violence that erupted in Sittwe in 2012. Each shares their views about the conflict, education and the possibility to mend a deeply divided society.

The film aims to present a view of Rakhine state that gives voice to two sides of a complex issue to suggest ways forward towards peace building among youth.

The film is produced in association with Smile Education and Development Foundation, Yangon. It will be followed by a panel discussion.


U Myo Win: Executive Director of the Yangon-based NGO, Smile Education and Development Foundation. Smile works on interfaith cooperation and peace building, and conducts trainings on civic education and conflict transformation. Myo Win is an executive member of the Metta Circle Consortium, Myanmar Civil Society Forum for Peace, and Myanmar Peace and Human Rights Consortium. He is also part of the Regional Consultation Body of the Freedom of Religion or Belief in ASEAN. A recipient of the Chevening Fellowship he conducted research on Conflict Resolution at the University of York in England.

Wai Wai Nu: A former political prisoner and the co-founder of Justice for Women. She is also the founder and director of the Women Peace Network Arakan. Since her release from prison in 2012, Wai Wai Nu has dedicated herself to working for democracy and human rights, particularly on behalf of marginalized women and members of her own ethnic group, the minority Rohingya population. Wai Wai Nu will be joining the panel by Skype from the University of California at Berkeley Law School where she is pursuing graduate studies in International Law specifying comparative constitutional law and civil procedures.

Phil Robertson: Deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, oversees the organization’s work throughout Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, North Korea and Japan. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch in 2009, he worked for more than a decade in Southeast Asia on human rights, labor rights, protection of migrant workers, and counter-human trafficking efforts with a variety of non-governmental organizations, international and regional trade union federations, and UN agencies. A 1997 graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, he is fluent in Thai and Lao.

Jeanne Hallacy (Director): A filmmaker and photographer producing stories about human rights and social justice issues in Southeast Asia. Her film credits include:

This Kind of Love profiling Burmese LGBT rights activist Aung Myo Min which premiered at the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival in Yangon and received an Award of Merit in LGBT Category at the Accolade International Film Competition (2015)

Into the Current: Burma’s Political Prisoners, chronicling the history of non-violent resistance in Burma (2012)

Mercy (meddah) about a Thai girl who lost her family to AIDS, awarded the Special Jury Award in the Ojai Film Festival. (2002)

Burma Diary, a four-year journal of a refugee family displaced by war (1997).

Hallacy directs InSIGHT OUT! photo storytelling project that trains youth affected by natural disaster, conflict and social inequities to create media.