Screening Room

MIPCOM Picks 2011: Dancing with Dictators

It's often said that for the best documentaries, the filmmakers never really know what's ahead of them when they set out to tell their stories. One would be inclined to think that such was the case for director Hugh Piper when he set up cameras in the offices of the Myanmar Times.
September 26, 2011

DANCING WITH DICTATORS

Partners: Produced by Evershine; financed by Screen Australia, Screen NSW, Evershine; distributed by PBS International (worldwide) and Ronin Films (Australia and New Zealand)

Length: 1 x 57 minutes or 1 x 80 minutes HD

Premiering: October 2011 (PBS U.S.)

Rights: Worldwide

It’s often said that for the best documentaries, the filmmakers never really know what’s ahead of them when they set out to tell their stories. One would be inclined to think that such was the case for director Hugh Piper when he set up cameras in the offices of the Myanmar Times, Burma’s leading national newspaper.

Australian ex-pat Ross Dunkley (pictured), the paper’s co-owner and editor, agrees to have a crew film the activity inside the Times’ offices, ostensibly to shine a light on how journalism functions under a repressive regime. And the film certainly probes that subject matter, with sequences featuring long-suffering reporters and editors hacking away at stories by order of sensitive censors. But things take a turn for the strange when Dunkley is arrested on charges of assault – charges he continually denies – and put on trial.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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