Local filmmaker earns award for Burma flick

Diane Namm

Local Diane Namm’s documentary “Sasa” won the Humanitarian Division of the My Hero International Film Festival in Los Angeles Dec. 3. The six-minute long film shows a young doctor, Sasa, who was inspired to go into medicine after witnessing extreme poverty while growing up in a poor village in Burma.

“From that first moment, I realized this was a young man who could change the course of history for the Burmese people,” Namm said of Sasa. “Having the opportunity to document Sasa’s proactive, peaceable resistance to keep his people alive has, and continues to be, one of the more inspiring events in which I’ve ever been involved.”

In the village where Sasa grew up, a trip to the hospital takes six or seven days. Sasa decided to pursue medical training after a futile experience trying to help a sick friend get medical care.

“We carried him to the hospital but there was a river,” Sasa said. “We needed to cross the river but the river had no bridges so we had to swim. And later on, when we arrived to meet up river, the sick fellow, my gentle friend, had drowned. I had to believe in faith that, if I studied, I would at least be able to relieve my people from this kind of terrible pain.”

Sasa did not have enough money to get an education, but people in his village pooled their resources and sent him to medical school in Armenia.

After completing medical school, Sasa returned to provide health care to local people. Several nearby villages helped build the facility where Sasa practices medicine.

The film festival is part of the My Hero Project, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 that honors people working to make a positive difference in the world.