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Charity Film Screening In Wellington


When: Monday 13 June, 8pm
Screening Time: 8:30pm-10:30pm
Where: The Paramount Cinema, 25 Courtenay Place, Wellington
This is part of a nationwide screening program. There will also be a screening in Motueka on the same night and a screening in Palmerston North and Auckland later in the month. For more information on screenings in your area or to hold your own screening please go to:

New Zealand celebrities supporting the event include Lisa Chappell, Raybon Kan, Danny Mulheron, Antonio Te Maioha, as well as Dominic Keating and Sir Ian Mckellon who have been in Wellington filming the Hobbit. Political support has been received from ‘His Holiness’, the Dalai Lama who is currently in Christchurch, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade and Prime Minister John Key.

"Kiwi's are very compassionate, if they know something wrong is happening they will do what they can about it. I was astonished when I heard about this especially about the Burma government locking Zaraganar away for using comedy to speak out about the Burmese government trying to stop aid getting to its people after cyclone Nargis, can you imagine what would happen in New Zealand if our government tried anything like that after the Christchurch earthquake, it is outrageous! Iam flying down to the Wellington screening on Monday and I hope everyone else will support it to" Lisa Chappell, singer/actress (McLeod's Daughters)

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International celebrities who support the fight for human rights in Mynamar/Burma include:Avril Lavigne, Eddie Izzard, Jennifer Aniston and Woody Harrelson, Damien Rice and Emma Thompson. Public and celebrity support recently enabled the high profile release of Myanmar’s political prisoner Ang San Suu Kyi and we hope to achieve the same for Zarganar.

The screening will be introduced by New Zealand comedian Raybon Kan and will be attended by former political prisoner and New Zealand resident Naing Ko Ko who will also be participating in the media photo call. The film is a great example of how the film and comedy industries can be used to educate, inform and create a call to action.

The film is by BRITISH ACADEMY AWARD WINNING DIRECTOR, REX BLOOMSTEIN'S, about Myanmar’s greatest living film star & comedian, 'Zarganar', who was sentenced to 59 years in prison, without basic human rights (food, water, medication) for using comedy to speak out against Myanmar’s oppressive and violent military dictatorship. It has both comedy and serious elements to it.

Our main objective for the screening is to offer the opportunity to experience Zarganar’s unique humour and insightful observations about life in a media-closed country and to increase awareness of the plight of the Burmese people to a wider audience.

Owen Wilson commented ‘with power comes responsibility’ and I hope you can spare some time to attend the screening and let your readers know about it so that you and they can see for yourself the life that Zarganar lived and is living. If you are not able to stay for the duration of the film but can spare ten minutes to meet former Myanmar political prisoner Naing Ko Ko at 8 pm before the screening that would be greatly appreciated, he spent years of his life tortured in Myanmar, fed only a teaspoon of water a day and made to sit on the floor and bark like a dog every time a prison guard walked past.

In a mark of respect to Zarganar, two Wellington University students taped their mouth closed for the day to get an idea of what it is like living in a closed country. There are a number of kiwis on the Thai/Burma border offering volunteer support to Burmese refugees who illegally some to the border for medical and education aid.

I have attached a press release for further information.

About the film

Sometimes a sense of humour... can be a dangerous thing.

In his third feature length documentary we follow director Rex Bloomstein and world renowned comedian, Michael Mittermeier, as they risk arrest, imprisonment, torture and worse by entering the media-closed country of Myanmar seeking answers to how and why the country's premiere film star, comedian and 'voice of the people', Zarganar, was imprisoned for 59 years for telling satirical jokes about the military government.

As Bloomstein and Mittermeier get closer to Zarganar and begin to unveil the truth surrounding his fate they also begin to draw the suspicions of the country's secret police and a desperate struggle to complete their film and escape with the outlawed footage begins.

A heart-warming, powerful and urgently important film, 'This Prison Where I Live' gives a voice to a nation silenced by 49 years of military rule

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