Some days one step forward, two steps back

Posted in burmese, burmese refugees, documentary, documentary exhibition, fort wayne indiana, music rights, refugee, rough cut. on October 31, 2011 by yearningtobreathefree

Earlier this year, I created a 10-minute video introduction to my documentary, Yearning to Breathe Free, that was meant to serve as an overview to the influx of Burmese refugees into northern Indiana. Some of you have been kind to watch the rough cut of it for me to provide your valuable feedback. A couple of you have translated the voiceover so that we could add Burmese subtitles onscreen. Thank you all.

I have waited many months for a reply from a musician and his recording company about whether I would be given permission to use his song to which I had edited and timed the video. It’s a very appropriate and compelling song, and I felt quite confident that, given the worthy non-commercial cause of helping refugees assimilate, I would be given permission.

On Friday I learned that my request has been flat out denied. Although very disappointed to be thrown back to square one in this endeavor, I am grateful for the expert services of MeitusGelbertRose law firm in Indianapolis who volunteered to pursue the music rights. Such service to the film industry is the firm’s specialty and they couldn’t have been more helpful. Unfortunately, “yeses” aren’t always received from musicians.

Therefore, for those of you hoping to use my overview piece in the near future for speaker bureaus and events to increase awareness of our refugees, I’m sorry that my video won’t be available to you to use. Please stay tuned for whatever the next chapter becomes in this on-going endeavor. I hope for a documentary exhibition in Fort Wayne during the fall of 2012.


Burma Soldier debuts on HBO2

Posted in burmese, documentary, fort wayne indiana, media, Myo Myint, refugee with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2011 by yearningtobreathefree

Myo Myint. © 2011 John Gevers.

After much anticipation, the new documentary about Myo Myint’s life debuts on HBO2 this Wednesday, May 18, at 8:00 pm EST.

The compelling documentary chronicles this Burmese man’s journey from being a soldier to incurring life-changing injuries on the war front to rethinking his position on Burma’s civil war to demonstrating for change in his country’s one-party rule system to being arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for a total of 15 years to fleeing for a refugee camp, to reuniting with other family by resettling in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as a political refugee. And he continues his fight for civil rights and freedom in his nativeland from his new homeland.

Myo Myint. © 2011 John Gevers.

This important new HBO documentary is A LeBrocquy Fraser/Break Thru Films Production. It is directed by Nic Dunlop, Annie Sundberg, and Ricki Stern; written by Annie Sundberg and Nic Dunlop; and produced by Julie LeBrocquy.

Additional air dates on HBO2 — all EST:
May 27 at 11:00 pm
May 31 at 2:15 pm
June 5 at 3:30 pm

Myo Myint. © 2011 John Gevers.

It was deemed best to make the Fort Wayne premiere of the movie an invitation-only event, and in preparation for that and the film’s HBO debut, Myo Myint provided interviews with local media. If you’ve missed the publications and airings, they are online at:
The Fort Wayne Reader
The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel
Northeast Indiana Public Radio 89.1 FM
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Indiana’s NewsCenter
Indiana’s NewsCenter’s INsight
WANE-TV News Channel 15
The Fort Wayne Monthly Magazine

Myo Myint and army jacket. © 2011 John Gevers.

Many thanks to local journalists Mike Summers, Ellie Bogue, Phil Shaull, Emilie Henry, Kim Meiser, John Hartman, Adam Widener, John Davis, and Bonnie Blackburn (in order of stories appearing) for providing such good local coverage.
jis zu theim bah deh
That’s “thank you” in Burmese.

Bonnie Blackburn and Myo Myint. © 2011 John Gevers.

Ellie Bogue and Myo Myint. © 2011 John Gevers.

Myo Myint and Phil Shaull. © 2011 John Gevers.

Steve Penhollow and Myo Myint. © 2011 John Gevers.

Emilie Henry, Myo Myint, and Kim Meiser. © 2011 John Gevers.

John Hartman, Emilie Henry, Myo Myint. © 2011 John Gevers

Adam Widener and Myo Myint. © 2011 John Gevers

John Davis and Myo Myint. © 2011 John Gevers.

Media coverage of “Yearning to Breathe Free”

Posted in burmese, documentary, fort wayne indiana, media, refugee with tags , , , , , , , on April 12, 2011 by yearningtobreathefree

Indiana’s NewsCenter interviewed me about this documentary recently and the two-part, 10 minute interview can be viewed online here and here. The webpages load a bit slowly.

My thanks to the TV station’s Emilie Henry, John Hartman, and Al Crain.

Genuine Gratitude

Posted in burmese, documentary on April 9, 2011 by yearningtobreathefree

This is a big shout-out to two kind, intelligent, and talented Burmese men, Chan Aung and Win Naing, who sat three hours with me in my studio this warm spring Saturday to do the tedious work of translation (Burmese to English) for “Yearning to Breathe Free.” I’m so impressed by their commitment to learning video production while helping me tell the stories of their fellow country(wo)men who had to flee their homeland for our heartland. Kudos and my thanks to you, gentlemen!

Their names are added to my growing list of people to whom I am thankful for helping me breathe life into this endeavor. See: Credits & Gratitude.

BBC interviews Myo Myint of “Burma Soldier” documentary

Posted in burmese, documentary, fort wayne indiana, media, Myo Myint, refugee with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2011 by yearningtobreathefree

Click here for interview:

In advance of the release of the documentary film, “Burmese Soldier,” the BBC recorded a 10-minute interview with remarkable Myo Myint who now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The former Burmese soldier was badly injured by a landmine, left the army and joined the pro-democracy movement. Myo Myint was then put in prison and ended up spending over fourteen years there before fleeing to Thailand and then the United States.

For those of you in the Fort Wayne area, the movie about Myo Myint’s life will be shown during a special screening for our community at a date soon to be announced. Please check back here for details as they become known. “Burma Soldier,” narrated by Colin Farrell with music by U2, is a co-production of LeBrocquy Fraser Productions in Dublin and Break Thru Films in New York.

Chin National Day

Posted in burmese, Chin, documentary, ethnic event, fort wayne indiana, refugee, youth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2011 by yearningtobreathefree

Chin people of Burma, many of whom are refugees, gathered on February 19, 2011, in their new home, Fort Wayne, Indiana, to celebrate Chin National Day.

This video, featuring young people dancing traditional Chin dance, is part of John Gevers’ “Yearning to Breathe Free” documentary exhibition currently in production.

© John Gevers, NEW MEDIA BREW, Inc. All rights reserved.

Burma breakdances

Posted in burmese, documentary, ethnic event, fort wayne indiana, refugee, youth with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2011 by yearningtobreathefree

Burma breakdances from John Gevers on Vimeo.

The new generation of Burmese young men now living in Fort Wayne, Indiana, strut their breakdancing selves at Burma Night, 3.6.2011.

This is part of John Gevers’ documentary exhibition, “Yearning to Breathe Free,” which tells the stories of refugees from other lands who now live in the Heartland of the United States. This segment shows how rapid assimilation into a new culture can occur, especially among those from the younger generation. It is not uncommon for teenagers from Burma to report that they spent their entire lives prior to being granted admittance to the U.S. in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border.

© John Gevers, NEW MEDIA BREW, Inc. All rights reserved.

Burma Night in Fort Wayne on March 6

Posted in burmese, ethnic event, fort wayne indiana, refugee, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 3, 2011 by yearningtobreathefree

Download BurmaNight Flyer.


Join the fun on March 6th 6-11 pm, 216 E. Washington Blvd.

What do you think of the News-Sentinel editorial?

Posted in burmese, fort wayne indiana, immigrant, media, refugee with tags , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by yearningtobreathefree

The Fort Wayne newspaper, News-Sentinel, recently printed an editorial about our city’s population of legal immigrants. That would include those of refugee status who have been given a new home because their home country isn’t safe or fit for them to make a life in any longer. The short editorial raises some questions to consider so I’d like to encourage you to read it at the link below and then add your thoughts, please, to the comments section of this blog post. Please remember to return to this page to post your comments here in this forum after reading the editorial. You may also want to post in the comments section under the newspaper’s editorial.

Please remember that civility rules on this blog and I will not publish a post that is mean spirited. I value your participation if it constructively adds to our city’s consideration of immigration and refugee resettlement.

You’ll find the editorial online at:

Burma soldier turned opposition supporter speaks out on Burma election

Posted in burmese, documentary, fort wayne indiana, Myo Myint, refugee with tags , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by yearningtobreathefree


Myo Myint. © 2010 John Gevers. All rights reserved.

The former soldier from the Burmese military regime about whom I write on this blog (see Feb. 28, 2010 entry below) had his thoughts on Burma’s elections published in the UK’s Guardian. I only recently ran across it and wanted you to have a chance to read Myo Myint’s take on things in his troubled homeland. The documentary about his life, entitled “Burma Soldier,” will air on HBO in May and, hopefully, a debut of the film will occur locally in his town of resettlement, Fort Wayne, Indiana, shortly before. Dates will be announced here when known.

The link to the article in the Guardian is below: