a four-part documentary film


 

"A FRONT-LINE EDUCATION" was created in 2012, and served as my final project for a Master's degree in Photography from Ohio University's School of Visual Communication. My goal was to document the experiences of young individuals going through relief team training with the Free Burma Rangers. I spent three weeks on location in Burma, and then two weeks editing in the U.S. Special thanks to Sally Ann Cruikshank for helping with the script and edit, to Lweena Tun for Burmese and Karen language translation, and to all my faculty and classmates for help and support along the way.

This project sparked the production of a feature-length documentary, Free Burma Ranger, which is currently in post-production. 

Watch all four films back-to-back, on Vimeo.


PART ONE

CAUGHT IN CONFLICT

DESCRIPTION: Colonial rule in Burma ended in 1942, only to be replaced by a military dictatorship. More than six decades later, ethnic minority groups continue to struggle against government oppression. The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) formed to give people a chance to fight back, without violence.


PART TWO

VOLUNTEERING FOR EDUCATION

DESCRIPTION: A neglected education system combined with economic hardships and access to schools, shapes the lives of ethnic minorities in Burma. For three volunteers, the intense, daily training offered by FBR provides purpose and opportunity they would not find elsewhere.


PART THREE

PUT TO THE TEST

DESCRIPTION: After enduring two months of training, FBR volunteers face a final examination, one that forces them to overcome uncertainty and their own self-doubt. The simulated conditions feel all to real for the volunteers, who know even greater challenges lie ahead in the field.


PART FOUR

THE WAY FORWARD

DESCRIPTION: Beyond the leadership skills and practical knowledge involved in training, FBR volunteers must now also reconcile their past experience with the lessons of peace and forgiveness imparted to them. Now, as they move into an uncertain future, they have to define peace in the context of their changing personal narrative-- a definition that could shape the future of a nation in transition.