(The Fire In The Village Next To Mine)
Thet Oo Maung (Myanmar) & So Phina (Cambodia)
This is a collaborative project between poet So Phina and filmmaker Thet Oo Maung. After learning of the military coup and brutal killings in Myanmar, Phina wrote the poem in Khmer and recorded her reading of it. The video was created by Thet Oo Maung as response and visualisation of Phina So’s poem, using archival footage from his time in Kachin State. The Kachin community in this area has been suffering from civil war, land grabbing for the Myitsone Dam Project along the Ayeyarwady river, and forcible relocation of the military.
Thet Oo Maung is a dedicated humanitarian, self-taught painter, photographer and filmmaker.He uses his skills to amplify the voices of those who have been maligned, forgotten about, or silenced. His works dealt with civil war, landmines, people with disabilities, children education, children healthcare, women empowerment, digital rights, illegal logging, land grabbing and environmental degradation. He also organised and ran the underground human rights film festival in Burma/Myanmar, the “One Step Film Forum”.
Phina So is a writer/poet and a publisher. She co-founded Slap Paka Khmer, an informal writers’ collective in Phnom Penh, as well as Kampu Mera Editions, a small press through which she and her peers write contemporary stories about women empowerment, cultural transgression, and social criticism. Through this publishing house, four anthologies, a historical novel, and three translations from French and Indian literature. In 2017, she also founded the Khmer Literature Festival, which its fifth edition was organized successfully in October 2022. Her short stories and poems have been translated into various languages and published locally and internationally. With a grant from Heinrich Boll Stiftung, she collects and publishes the Cambodian Women Poetry Book ‘My Parents Are Women’. She is establishing a community of readers, which organizes reading events embracing the value of inclusivity and free expressions.