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.)
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.