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Documentary on anti-Muslim violence dropped from human rights film festival in Burma

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, the organiser of the Human Rights and Human Dignity International Film Festival, speaks at the Waziyar Cinema in downtown Yangon on 16 June 2014
Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, the organiser of the Human Rights and Human Dignity International Film Festival, speaks at the Waziyar Cinema in downtown Yangon on 16 June 2014

Hein Htet/Mizzima

A documentary about a Buddhist who helped a Muslim woman during deadly communal violence in Meikthila in 2013 has been dropped from the programme of the Human Rights and Human Dignity International Film Festival in Yangon.

"Unnecessary problems would arise in Myanmar if we show this movie, so we sadly had to cancel the screenings at the Waziyar Cinema and at the cineplex at Junction Square," festival organiser and film director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi said on 16 June 2014.

"The purpose of this film festival is not to create conflict; I feel very sorry that we had to cancel this movie," he said of the decision, which came after the documentary was the target of hate speech on social media websites.

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi was speaking at the downtown Waziyar Cinema to film fans who had expected to see a scheduled screening of the 20-minute documentary, A Moe Ma Shi Tae Kaungkin (The Open Sky), directed by Kyal Yie Lin Six, Lynnsatt Nwe and Phyo Zayar Kyaw.

It was one of five documentaries made for the festival by 12 young filmmakers who participated in a seven-week training course organised and conducted by the Human Dignity Film Institute.

A total of 67 documentaries or movies - including 32 made in Myanmar, nine made in other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and 26 international productions - have featured in the programme for the festival, which ended on 18 June. The event will wrap up with the presentation of the festival's eight prizes at an invitation-only event at the Sule Shangri-la Hotel on 19 June.

On the cover of the programme for the festival, which is being held in Myanmar for the second time, is printed the first sentence of the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

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