We are making a photography and poetry book, featuring contemporary poets in Myanmar/Burma.
Photographs in the book are by internationally acclaimed photographer Dana Lixenberg. She has traveled twice to Myanmar and taken stunning portraits of all of the poets.
The book includes poetry and stories about living and writing under Myanmar's dictatorship, and now, in a time of democratic transition.
Our Kickstarter goal is the printing cost of the book: 15 000 euro.
We will release the book on June 1st.
It will be a collector’s item limited edition: we are printing only 1000 copies. With an open sewn binding, and silkscreen hard cover, the book will be an art-object.
Dana Lixenberg is a Dutch photographer. She lives and works in New York and Amsterdam. Her work has been widely exhibited and can be found in collections worldwide. She is currently shortlisted for the 2017 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her publication Imperial Courts (Roma, 2015).
Dana Lixenberg has graciously offered two photo prints from the Burma Storybook book in limited editions as awards on Kickstarter.
OUR WORK IN MYANMAR
We know Myanmar very well as we have worked there for three years on a documentary film about Burmese poets and poetry.
Our film - also called Burma Storybook - had its world premiere at IFFR Rotterdam this January, was then released in the cinemas in the Netherlands, and is now traveling to film festivals all around the world. The film will be broadcast on May 30th by IKONdocs in the Netherlands.
Poetry holds a special place in Myanmar. Most people can recite a poem or write amateur poetry. And professional poets have an important role in society: many were political dissidents.
FROM FILM TO BOOK
When we finished our film, we wanted to do more for the poets. And so we decided to publish a book to highlight their work.
Burmese poetry is still little known internationally. And the poets are such extraordinary people, that we wanted to help present them to an international audience. Some have been imprisoned for their activism and for their writing. All had to find creative ways to get around the censors. Their stories are powerful and inspiring. A reminder about the strength of creative freedom of expression. And about the fragility of freedom of speech - a subject more relevant than ever today.
WHERE WE STAND
Our book is almost done. The graphic design is complete, beautifully conceived by Dutch designer Jeroen Jas, who has made the book into an art-object.
The cover was adapted from a design Joost Hiensch made for us in one of the endless variations he made in creating the poster for our film.
We have been very lucky that distinguished writer Emma Larkin - author of several books on Myanmar, has written a preface for us.
We are ready to go to the printer. We just need your help on Kickstarter.
The actual costs of publishing our book are much higher than our Kickstarter goal. We have made it possible through our own investment, and by working for free - neither Petr, Corinne, nor Dana has received a salary for our work on the book. It is a labor of love.
Should we exceed our goal on kickstarter, and should we cover all of our costs, then any profit will be fairly shared with the poets in our book.
We are documentary filmmakers.
Petr Lom is a former academic (with a Ph.D. from Harvard), who has been making human rights documentaries for the last fifteen years. His award-winning films have premiered at Sundance, Berlinale and IDFA and have traveled to more than 300 film festivals around the world and have been broadcast in more than 25 countries.
Corinne van Egeraat is an award-winning Dutch filmmaker and creative producer. In addition to producing and directing seven films, she has produced a number of projects on creative freedom of expression. In 2011-12 she produced the Self-Portrait Video Project, a year-long workshop on autobiographical storytelling with young Egyptian artists, which culminated with several shorts (one of which premiered at the Berlinale), and a feature collaborative documentary - ANA ANA - that was nominated for best film at IDFA 2013. In 2015-16 she produced Framing the Transition, a human rights photography essay project with twelve young Burmese photographers.
WHAT WE ARE PLANNING NEXT
We will also be releasing a Burmese-language only pocket edition of our book – to be distributed for a very low cost in Myanmar. We will distribute this book during a FREE MOBILE CINEMA TOUR in Myanmar we are planning for our film. Our goal is to show our documentary to at least two million people throughout the country in free outdoor and cinema screenings.
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Risks and challenges
Our book is almost done. All of the creative work is complete: Dana has taken all of the photographs, they have been developed, scanned and colour-graded.
Petr and Khin Aung Aye, one of the poets in the book and also our "poetry consultant" have completed the interviews that were the basis for the biographical stories in our book. Petr has written the texts.
Jeroen has completed the graphic design for the book.
We are publishing the book ourselves.
All that remains for us is to go to the printer. We have booked space with the best printer of art and photography books in the Netherlands - Rob Stolk in Amsterdam.
All we have to do now is to raise the printing costs on Kickstarter.
We have invested our time to pro bono on this book to make it happen. That was our own risk - one we have been happy to make. Our philosophy is simple: we are passionate about what we do, and invest our time and energy into projects that matter for us. We work from the heart.
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- (25 days)