Last month at the British Council in Yangon, Robert H. Lieberman showed his 88-minute documentary to a packed auditorium of over 100 viewers. The film is called They Call It Myanmar, and the premiere was a public screening with artists, film-makers, NGO workers and ordinary citizens attending to watch their own country from the viewfinder of a foreign film-maker. Lieberman had invited Aung San Suu Kyi, who also appeared in the film as one of the interviewees, but she couldn't make it.
"I didn't want to make a political film," says Lieberman, a physics lecturer from Cornell University and also a film-maker and novelist. "I want to put a human face on the country. I aim to show what the country is like through its own people. It is a portrait of Myanmar."
Lieberman talked to us when he stopped in Bangkok on his way back to Ithaca, New York, where he lives. They Call It Myanmar was recently screened at Landmark Sunshine Cinema in Manhattan, and Lieberman, who made the film with producer Deborah C. Hoard and editor David Cossack, is planning to show it in other major cities across the US. During his stop in Bangkok last year, the director showed the rough cut of the film informally to his class at Bangkok University, but at the moment there are no plans to screen the documentary anywhere else in Thailand.
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