Making the impossible possible
'Burma VJ' was initially conceived as a small story about personal engagement and courage. But the rebellion of Burmese monks in 2007 compelled it to switch gear, expanding it into a human drama with a strong vein of high-risk journalism.
The committee's statement on why they chose the film:
They have created a moving film that evokes sympathetic insight, even though the audience does not see the leading person who remains anonymous for security reasons.
They have created a film with visual strength, an authentic historical document from thousands of small clips — out of focus, incoherent, and shot by different individuals under chaotic conditions.
They have persisted in sticking to their ambition of making 'a documentary film that mattered', even though it would have been easier and less expensive to produce an efficient news version of the film, which there was a demand for.
They have taken chances; the film had to be made, even before an unsigned contract and even though necessary finances were yet to be met.
And they have persisted long after the completion of the film — followed it around the world — with their engagement in those who took part in the film and with their interest in the themes dwelt on in the film.
Lense-Møller is a fim producer and CEO and founder of Magic Hour Films. For the last 20 years, Lense-Møller has produced films, co-written scripts and been a consultant on the development and production of feature films, short fiction, documentaries, and TV-series. She is also one of the experts at EU's EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs).
Østergaard is a graduate of the Danish School of Journalism 1991 and has worked as a copywriter and as a researcher on documentary programmes before taking up filmmaking. He has received numerous national and international awards for his work in film: among others 'The Magus', 'Tintin et moi', and 'Burma VJ', the latter receiving over 15 international awards, including the IDFA Amsterdam's Joris Ivens Award 2008 and a Sundance award in 2009.
About the Roos Award
The award committee this year comprises Henrik Bo Nielsen, Danish Film Institute CEO; Malene Flindt Pedersen, DFI Head of Development; and last year's winner Tine Fischer, director of CPH:DOX, the Copenhagen international documentary film festival. The award, presented by the Danish Film Institute at the annual Ebeltoft conference for Danish documentary filmmakers, consists of a cash prize of 25,000 kroner (3,360 euros).
The Roos Award, named after the documentary film pioneer Jørgen Roos, was established in 1995 for the purpose of rewarding outstanding efforts in Danish documentary filmmaking.
Past awardwinners include Jørgen Roos, Jørgen Leth, Sami Saif, Phie Ambo, Janus Billeskov Jansen, Jon Bang Carlsen, Jesper Jargil, Anne Wivel, Tue Steen Müller, Niels Pagh Andersen, Arne Bro, Steen Møller Rasmussen and Tine Fischer.