Archive for USA

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.

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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.

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: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00f6sbq

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.

Video of images from documentary exhibition

Posted in Buddhist, burmese, documentary, muslim, refugee, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2010 by yearningtobreathefree

I produced this video featuring images made thus far for the documentary exhibition, Yearning to Breathe Free. Of course, there will be more to come, but I wanted a more engaging way of displaying my work up to this point.

Video and images © 2010 John Gevers, NEW MEDIA BREW, Inc.

Burmese soldier turned promoter of democracy. Myo Myint, part one

Posted in burmese, documentary, Myo Myint, refugee with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2010 by yearningtobreathefree

Myo Myint in Umpiem Mai refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border, June 2008. © Nic Dunlop. All rights reserved.

It is time to begin telling the story of a Burmese political refugee who has become a friend of mine since we were first introduced nine months ago. Myo Myint’s story is an amazing and inspiring and horrific tale. I will bring his life’s many facets to you in installments in the coming months.

If this whole endeavor I’ve named Yearning to Breathe Free should end prematurely and never result in a fully produced exhibition and/or documentary, at least I have met Myo Myint. We share the same middle-age decade, possess similar body types — except he’s missing some of his, and we share a love of literature. Oh, and we both like beer.

And that’s about where our similarities end. Our life experiences are vastly different. So different that it’s almost laughable . . . but for the fact that his tales make you want to cry. And herein lies the poignancy of our having met and become friends — a Westerner born into a democratic, free land and an Asian born into a one-party-ruled, brutal land — now both living in the middle of America.

A benefit, I think, to the United States of America opening her arms to offer refuge to those needing a new home is a rich worldly awareness that refugees bring into the lives of all of us.

So. Where to begin telling you about Myo Myint? For nearly five years now, a soft spoken, courageous Irish-born photojournalist and author, Nic Dunlop, has worked to share Myo Myint’s story in a documentary film. The movie is nearly finished and will soon air on HBO. I’ll post its air date here when it is known.

As an introduction to Myo Myint and my own storytelling of his life, I am posting the movie trailer here. Thanks to Nic’s kindness and permission, I will be illustrating Myo Myint’s considerable tale on this blog with Nic’s photographic images, as well as with my own photos, video, and scans of the few articles Myo Myint was able to conceal as he smuggled himself out of Burma and the torment of hell . . . .

Burma Soldier feature documentary, directed by Nic Dunlop, Annie Sundberg, and Ricki Stern.

A LeBrocquy Fraser / Break Thru Films production.