Guardians of Paradise is 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.
Director Statement - 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 ?