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Studio 9 Films local Myanmar crew achievement recognised at prestigious Rory Peck Awards

The bravery and dedication of the local crew who filmed Studio 9 Films’ documentary, Myanmar: An Uneasy Alliance has been recognised at the Rory Peck Awards. Co-Directors Tuja Kareng, Hkun Li and Edward Win were selected as finalists in the News Feature Award 2021 category, alongside other journalists working in Nepal and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China. The Rory Peck Awards, now in their 26th year, celebrate the most outstanding work of freelance journalists around the world.

Award finalists Tuja Kareng and Hkun Li outside a derelict building in Myanmar
Tuja Kareng and Hkun Li working in the field

Myanmar: An Uneasy Alliance takes its audience to the lesser-known rural border areas of the country. There, the local team, whose work was supported by Studio 9 Films, gained exclusive access to the largely unknown story of secret armed training camps run by ethnic insurgents. They’ve been fighting Myanmar’s military regime, the Tatmadaw, for decades. Now they’re training pro-democracy protesters from urban areas in military tactics, in a more aggressive approach towards the armed forces.

Insurgents giving training in military tactics
Inside the secret training camps

The film is Tuja Kareng’s debut as a Director. Hkun Li was the first photographer from Kachin state in Myanmar to become active in documentary work after the civil war broke out there in 2011 and Edward Lin, also from Myanmar, regularly travels to remote areas of the country to highlight important issues through his work. The Co-Directors worked together with Producer Tom Sheahan, who has been covering events in Myanmar since the 1990s and first brought this story to Studio 9 Films' attention.

Edward Win with two insurgents overlooking an area of land
Edward Win at the training camps in Myanmar's rural border region

The Rory Peck Awards were set up in 1995 and are named after a Northern Irish freelance cameraman who was killed while reporting on the siege of the Moscow White House in 1993. The 2021 News Feature Award was judged by a panel of professionals drawn from the international media industry, including CBS News senior foreign correspondent, Elizabeth Palmer and Dima Khatib, the only female executive within Al Jazeera. The jury said the film gave “a wholly new view of Myanmar’s struggle” and suggested “it is far from over and that there may be surprises ahead”.

Studio 9 Films’ founder, Fiona Lloyd Davies, said she was “thrilled” that the trios’ work was being celebrated and that she was “proud to have supported local talent”. Fiona said: “Through their bravery and dedication, we have been able to bring this important and rarely seen story to a worldwide audience on the Al Jazeera platform.”

Pro-democracy activist being trained in military tactics
Pro-democracy activist being trained in military tactics

Award finalists have the opportunity to be internationally recognised by top media outlets and win a cash prize of £1000. Studio 9 Films’ Myanmar: An Uneasy Alliance was commissioned by Al Jazeera’s People and Power and is available to view here.


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