Guardians of Paradise

An intimate glance into the Burmese life and culture in the months preceding the 2021 military coup. A meditation on Freedom & Peace to support the People of Myanmar in their painful struggle towards self-determination and a more equal society.

This short film was shot with the generous participation of the people of Bagan, a famous historical and religious site in Myanmar, between 2019 and 2020.

On February first 2021, the army has overthrown the democratically elected government in a coup d'état that dramatically affected 54 million Burmese, plunging the whole country into a state of fear, extreme violence and isolation.

Currently trapped between new waves of Covid, their own military killing them and a collapsing economy, the situation in Burma is a humanitarian disaster that reaches new lows every single day.

To this day, at least 1375 innocent civilians were killed by the army, 11202 were arrested, among whom journalists, artists, actors, fashion models, influencers and political opponents. 65 were sentenced to death penalty for protesting against the regime, and an estimated 250,000 people have been displaced by violence and fighting.

In a moment where they need international attention the most, this work wish to portray the uniqueness of the Burmese culture, as well as to bear witness of their incredible strength, whose true power lies in compassion, gracefulness, true generosity and human dignity.

With this film I hope to spread awareness on their tragic situation but also about the true beauty of this unique land and it's people. I wish you enjoy this film about Bagan in Burma and its peaceful people whom I had the privilege to meet and spend time with.

  • Ivan Maria Friedman
    Director
  • Ivan Maria Friedman
    Writer
  • Ivan Maria Friedman
    Producer
  • The people of Bagan, Myanmar
    Key Cast
  • Ivan Maria Friedman
    Cinematography
  • Ivan Maria Friedman
    Editing
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 22, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Switzerland
  • Country of Filming:
    Myanmar
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    red
  • Aspect Ratio:
    8:3
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Venezia shorts
    Venice
    Italy
    December 7, 2021
    Winner Best Cinematography - Ivan Maria Friedman
  • Prisma Rome independent film awards
    Rome
    Italy
    December 5, 2021
    Winner BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, BEST SHORT DOC, Ivan Maria Friedman
  • Venice Shorts
    Venice
    United States
    December 10, 2021
    Winner Best Short Film Cinematographer - Ivan Maria Friedman
  • TEKKA international film festival
    Singapore
    December 11, 2021
    Winner Best Documentary Short Film - Ivan Maria Friedman
  • Queen Ahilya global cine fest
    Kolkata
    India
    November 29, 2021
    WINNER Best Short Film, Best Cinematography, Best Film on Religion - Ivan Maria Friedman
  • Sweden Film Awards
    Stockholm
    Sweden
    December 11, 2021
    Winner Best Cinematography Short Film - Ivan Maria Friedman
  • Cannes world film festival
    Cannes
    France
    December 5, 2021
    Winner Best humanitarian short film, Best Cinematography, Best Spiritual/Mystical short film, Best Native people film - Ivan Maria Friedman
  • International Film Festival of Andaman and Nicobar
    Port Blair
    India
    November 8, 2021
    WINNER Best Experimental Short film, Best International Short film, Special Jury Award: Best Cinematography Short film - Ivan Maria Friedman
  • Paris Film Awards
    Paris
    France
    November 30, 2021
    Winner Best Cinematography - Ivan Maria Friedman
  • 1st Monthly Film Awards
    Belgrade
    Serbia
    October 15, 2021
    Winner Best Cinematography - Ivan Maria Friedman
  • 1st Monthlu Film Awards
    Belgrade
    Serbia
    October 15, 2021
    2nd Best Short Documentary Special
  • Berlin Art Film Festival
    Berlin
    Germany
    January 17, 2022
    Winner Best Documentary Short Film - Ivan Maria Friedman
  • New York Indipendent Cinema Awards
    New York
    United States
    December 15, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Indie Shorts Awards Cannes
    Cannes
    France
    January 19, 2022
    Winner Best Experimental Short Film
  • Montreal indipendent film Festivals
    Montreal
    Canada
    January 23, 2022
    Winner Best Short Film Cinematographer - Ivan Maria Friedman
Director Biography - Ivan Maria Friedman

My name is Ivan Friedman. Since my youngest age, music has been an endless source of satisfaction, and a fuel for my imagination that helps me reinterpret the world in a thousand different ways.

As life went on, I discovered that I could also take photographs and shoot and edit films, and I really enjoyed it. I felt enthusiastic about the possibility to combine these different disciplines and apply to each the formal principles that I could observe into the others.

Music gave me a chance to explore the depths of my own mind, to reflect on the meanings of life and death, and taught me to recognize and appreciate harmonic patterns, both in myself and in the rest of the manifested world. Photography and Cinematography gave me a chance to travel and witness the staggering beauty of this world, meet all sorts of interesting people and enjoy moments of peace and wonder in Nature.

In these forms of expressions and their inter-relatedness I see a field of possibilities to study aliveness from a wide variety of perspectives, to develop my own vision, and along with it, my own voice, with which to share with other people what I find beautiful and meaningful in life, and continue to ask myself the most fascinating questions of all: What is it, that which we call life? What is this experience of me, of you, and of the universe ? Where did it all come from? And what is this magnificent cosmic play all about ?

Switzerland 11.10.2021

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