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Burma soldier

In June of 2008, a 46-year-old man named Myo Myint walked through the gates of a Burmese refugee camp and travelled by bus to Bangkok airport, where his first ever plane-ride took him 12,000 miles to the USA. There, on a humid Indiana evening, he embraced a brother he hadn't seen in almost 20 years.

This emotional reunion marked the latest chapter in a remarkable life. For Myo Myint was no ordinary refugee. As a young man, he joined the Burmese army, which has ruled the country for almost 50 years; he witnessed atrocities committed by his comrades against his own people. Later, he became a democrat, joining the mass movement led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi; he was jailed and tortured. He flees Burma with a unique and heartrending story. The forthcoming documentary film Burma Soldier provides a rare glimpse of a brutal dictatorship seen through the eyes of a courageous man who, quite literally, swapped sides.

Nic Dunlop accompanied Myo Myint on this journey to a new life, as he packed his meagre belongings in the camp and bade farewell to his comrades in the democracy movement, many of whom shared the hardships of Burmese prison life. The film will chronicle his transformation from a soldier of Burma's junta to democracy activist; from a political prisoner to a refugee in a foreign land.

But Burma Soldier is not just the story of one man, it is also the moving story of a family re-united in an alien world of shopping malls and flush toilets. Myo Myint's brother was an insurgent battling the same army of which Myo was once a part. His sister, also a former activist in Aung San Suu Kyi's party, has just given birth to her first child. The film will show how they have fared in a strange and foreign country. In the safety of the United States, they talk of their feelings about leaving an unfinished revolution and of their hopes for the future.

These pictures tell the compelling story of an extraordinary life in transition. It is also a story of enduring courage against overwhelming odds. Myo Myint's story is, in many ways, the story of modern Burma.

The film Burma Soldier, directed by Nic Dunlop and produced by LeBrocquy Fraser productions in Ireland and Break-Thru Films in New York, is due for release in 2010.
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