Selected Project keyboard_arrow_right 116B University Avenue, Rangoon
Joanna Vasquez Arong
Director & Producer
Melanie Gritzka del Villar
Assistant Producer
Production Status
Start Production
Date of Completion
December 2021
Participating Lab
Story Development Lab
An intimate view of Wendy Law-Yone, a prominent Burmese writer in exile, exploring identity, the idea of home, and what it means to survive in a cold, inhospitable foreign land.
Production Company
Old Fool Films
116B University Avenue, Rangoon
The story focuses on Wendy’s personal story of survival from a life of constant upheaval and a reflection on her years in Burma. Using voice overs from past interviews seamlessly intertwined with passages from her novels, we will recreate Wendy’s state of mind. For example, her first novel, The Coffin Tree, speaks about the plight of two motherless children who flee the upheaval in their homeland, and are further traumatized by their strange new lives in New York. Archival footage will also be used when describing certain events including the military coup by General Ne Win in 1962, when Wendy’s father, who founded Burma’s most influential paper, The Nation, was summarily thrown in jail.

We will also film Wendy as she visits Myanmar to launch the Burmese translation of her novel, Irawaddy Tango, as well as her new book essay, Dürenmatt and Me: A Writer’s Passage from Burma to Berne. Like her protagonist in Irawaddy Tango, Wendy also tried to escape before being caught and imprisoned for two weeks. If possible, we hope to film in the jungle Wendy attempted to escape through with a gem struggler, close to the border with Thailand.

The film will have the feeling of an intimate journal entry revealing dreams, nightmares, insights into a life in prison, in exile, as an immigrant, and returning to a home she no longer recognizes, and will combine different elements of personal photographs interwoven with archival footage and modern-day footage.