‘Burma VJ’ wins Amsterdam prize

Documentary looks at uprising in SE Asia

BRUSSELS — Anders Ostergaard’s “Burma VJ — Reporting from a Closed Country” took top prize at the Intl. Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the world’s top event for docu features.

The pic, which describes the work of a group of citizen reporters who secretly filmed the uprising against the military dictatorship in Burma in September 2007, also picked up the fest’s Movies that Matter human rights prize at a ceremony Saturday night.

A special jury award went to German team Rick Minnich and Matthew Sweetwood for “Forgetting Dad,” about the sudden memory loss suffered by Minnich’s father.

Kudos for medium-length docu went to Dutch helmer Aliona van der Horst, whose “Boris Ryzhy” explores the life of a little-known Russian poet.

A special jury award in this category went to Ibtisam Mara’ana for “Lady Kul el Arab,” about a beauty pageant for Arab women in Israel.

Canada’s “RiP — A Remix Manifesto” by Brett Gaylor won the audience award with its argument against penalizing people who cross copyright boundaries to make music.

Fest organizers report a 9% rise in visitor numbers compared with last year, with at least 157,500 tickets sold. However, international guests attending fell from 2,700 to 2,469.

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