PanSuriya Art Post

Pansodan starts its Docs & Talks event – join the first one on November 26!
21 November 2014, 13:29
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Invitation for Docs & Talks

Invitation for Docs & Talks


Pansodan Scene, the sister space of Pansodan Gallery, starts a new series of events at the end of November: Docs & Talks.

Docs & Talks

One month after the launch of the regular art talk Let’s Speak Art, Pansodan Scene starts its screening event, Docs & Talks, sharing the pleasure of watching documentary and experimental films, and talking about it: the filmgoers do not just enjoy discovering the work of dedicated filmmakers on current issues, but the possibility is also provided to meet the people behind the film and ask them about their work.

The Docs & Talks series will be open to various fields within the documentary and experimental genre with an objective to help the films reach a larger audience and allow the exchange of ideas around the different topics raised by the screenings.

Dreams of Dutiful Daughters

The Pansodan Docs & Talks will debut on 26 November with a documentary film never screened before in public in Myanmar. Dreams of Dutiful Daughters, a film by Dr. Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi. She shot the footage around the Thai/Myanmar border while carrying out her PhD research. The film is about the experience of Burmese women who, desperate to survive and support their families, cross the border to find work in Thailand where they are vulnerable to exploitation and violence because of their illegal status. Workers from Myanmar are a majority of the millions of foreign workers in Thailand. They are also the least likely to hold work permits. Of these, only very few are allocated to women. The film is about seeing how they handle their circumstances with grace, courage, humour and a positive spirit.

The first Docs & Talks will be on Wednesday 26 November 2014 at Pansodan Scene. The doors open at 6.30 p.m., entrance is free. The screening will be followed by a session of questions and answers. The film is about 50 minutes, in Burmese with English subtitles.

About the Director

Dr. Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi, a social and cultural anthropologist, is an award-winning gender specialist and filmmaker. She won the ‘Excellence in Gender Research’ title in 2013 —the most prestigious award given to an Australian academic in the area of gender studies. Dr. Mar was born and grew up in Rangoon. She lived in Thailand, Lao, Malaysia, and Cambodia before moving to Australia. While teaching at the Australian National University for many years, Dr. Mar completed her Grad. Dip, MA, MAS, and PhD. Currently she is at the University of Oxford and she was a member of Oxford University delegation led by the university’s vice-chancellor. She is also a senior adviser and works with various senior officials and government in Australia amongst other places, as well as in various educational institutions and INGOs on gender, development, peace in Myanmar. Dr. Mar has many years of experience working with vulnerable Burmese communities in sensitive and complex political environments where violence, poverty, and substance abuse are common. Her application of transformative research methodology stands her in good stead as she embarks on her research to investigate issues of gender-education, development and peace within the framework of a modernising Burmese society and cultural transformation. She has won several other awards, including the ‘Australia Day Unsung Hero Award’ in 2008 and the Australian National University Asian Studies award in 2009; she was a nominee for the Australian International Women’s Day Award in 2010.


Mystic Ball


Greg Hamilton became fascinated by caneball or chinlonthe first time he saw and heard one in action: in a Toronto park, in 1981.
The connection was deep, and he began coming to Ne Win-era Burma with the idea of developing his skills and eventually, bringing a team on an international tour. The tour never took place — in the 1990s when he was trying to arrange it, it was difficult to get a passport — and so we benefit from his Plan B: the documentary Mystic Ball. Mystic Ball will be showing at Pansodan Scene on Saturday 15 March 2014 at 6.30 pm. Greg Hamilton will be there, to introduce the documentary and answer questions.

Greg Hamilton came to Pansodan Gallery for an interview on 4 March 2014. He explained that when he first came to Burma in 1986, chinlone was considered a low-prestige, village and dusty street sport, and people were amazed but delighted by his serious interest.

Pansodan: What footage was hardest to cut out of the documentary?

ImageWell, we had shot three hundred fifty hours, which was cut to eighty-three minutes. In a way, the hardest to cut was the playing. I could have had it all just the game. But there were other things that were hard to cut. Like when I played music for elephants in Mandalay Zoo.

Pansodan: What gave you the idea to do that?

I started playing music for zoo animals in the 1970. I was thinking about the animals as being in prison. People were coming, looking, pointing, and no one was sharing anything with the animals. So I started playing music for them. Birds are most responsive, of course.

This time, I was playing for these elephants in Mandalay, and one had killed two people in the last year. The cameraman kept asking me to move closer and closer. It was raining, the ground was very muddy. I was kind of scared. So anyway that was an interesting experience.

Pansodan: What about women playing?

I think that the number of women playing has increased slowly here because of the modesty factor. Women don’t want to be seen in shorts. When I first came here, a mini-skirt would have been unthinkable. A lot of the women, if they got married, their husbands would forbid them to playing chinloun, because they didn’t want people seeing their legs. But maybe now that more girls wear miniskirts, there will be more women playing.

Pansodan: From your point of view, how’s the development in the game itself here?

The game has been evolving. It might be a thousand or a thousand five hundred years old. It is changing here, too. When I first came here, for example, the balls used to be a little smaller and the cane used to be much better. They can’t get really good quality cane now for balls. I still have some of the original forty balls that I got in 1986… I’ve been meaning to bring one back here to show them here.

The moves have been changing too. There are about two hundred named moves now, more and more. It is more acrobatic now, but less elegant. The older players put more emphasis on the pose, similar to dance poses that you took as you kicked the ball with a certain move. Now it’s got more of this breakdance, kind of young feel.

Youth of Yangon, Yangon Skateboarders

Pansodan Gallery has been bursting at the seams for some time. We are going to add a new room — a block and a half down Pansodan, toward the river, on the east side of the street (just like Pansodan Original).

The first exhibition in that space opens to the public today.  There are photographic portraits by Henry Kingsford, plus a documentary short directed by James Holman, screening at seven thirty each evening. A new view of the city we love.

The aim of this event is to shine a light on the Burmese skateboarding community, highlighting how despite not being supported by anyone the Burmese skateboarders continue to try and skate together and be a creative community in Yangon. This overcoming of adversity is ever more poignant with the demolition of Thuwanna skate last year (which had been the centre and place of refuge for the skaters for the last 15 years) and more recently the complete abandonment of the City Center skatepark by the current manager of the shopping mall next to the the skatepark, and who—until recently—was responsible for both the mall and the skatepark.

We do not have a sign up yet at the new place, but you can find it by looking. It is at N° 144, on the second floor, up the staircase nearest Maha Bandoola. Look for the large poster competing with many smaller ones. The venue opens at five in the evening; “Youth of Yangon” documentary screening daily at half past seven. Closing at eight. The site is Pansodan Street, middle block, up the staircase nearest Maha Bandoola. It is on the second floor. 

skateboard lorez

We will be renovating the space soon, but for now it is pretty much as it was in 1969, just a little worn but full of possibility.