Anders Østergaard premiered this taut exploration of journalism under a totalitarian regime at CPH:DOX in 2008 before screenings at IDFA, Sundance, and scores of other events. It received awards at CPH:DOX, IDFA, Sundance, Full Frame, and Berlin, among others, and was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar after its theatrical release in 2009.
Østergaard focuses on the courageous, but by necessity anonymous, citizen journalists who have risked arrest and torture by surreptitiously documenting human rights abuses in Burma, which at the time of filming, had been under military rule for 45 years. Their footage, smuggled out of the country, has been instrumental in bringing international attention to the plight of the Burmese people. The film follows “Joshua,” a young video journalist who becomes a de facto leader of the rest of the reporters, as he captures the massive nonviolent protest organized by Buddhist monks against the military regime and tries to evade their intelligence agencies, who seek to stop this dangerous undermining of the official propaganda. The film plays like a real life thriller, with the viewer rooting for Joshua and his team to keep one step ahead of the government. It makes for a gripping, emotional, and thought-provoking watching experience.