Interview with Tara Browne

Tara Browne is the writer/producer and director of the short documentary called “I Met a Man From Burma”. The film is an intimate portrait of struggle and the importance of home, as told through the eyes of Ler Wah Lo Bo. Ler Wah is a Burmese refugee, who tells his life story and that of his country. The film is premiering at this year’s Reel Causes in affiliation with VIFF at the Vancouver International Film Centre in Vancouver. Tara took some time to chat with Movie Mikes about her inspiration for the film.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you meet Ler Wah Lobo and what inspired you to create the short film “I Met a Man from Burma”?
Tara Browne: I met Ler Wah Lo Bo at my friend´s place who happens to be one of the organizers from “The Canadian Campaign for Free Burma” here in Toronto.

MG: How it directing, writing and producing your first project?
TB: I enjoyed it because you in way have more creative control. But alot of work and role switching. I´ve been lucky to have solid people around me that support and help me define that.

MG: I love the music and the editing, tell us about that?
TB: The editor is Oren Harad, he is originally from Mexico and based here in Toronto. He specializes in documentaries and commercials. He is one of the best editors I have ever worked with, I hope to work with Oren again…if he´s not too busy…(laughs). As for the music, the composer is from New York, his name is Darren Morze. I was actually sending him the film via my FTP site and we went back and forth for a couple months. It was an online relationship…(laughs) but easy because he naturally got the concept. It just all perfectly fit into place for this piece. I´m fortunate to have such talented people to work with.

MG: You are running an online petition to help Ler Wah to get permanent residence in Canada, tell us about that?
TB: The Canadian government has labelled Ler Wah Lo Bo as a “refugee” because he fought for freedom in his country. They have not granted him permanent residency for 8 years. I think he is a prisioner in a way… because he can´t really leave Canada. He just wants to have the freedom to see his grandchildren and visit wife´s grave in the US. It is a shame because he is a huge activist for his country and has given back so much to the Burmese community here in Toronto as a translater and advocate. If people want to sign the petition or read more about it, you can go to www.divfacefilms.com.  Each signature gets us closer to helping Ler Wah get his permanent residence.

MG: Tell us about your approach as director?
TB: Its a bit hard to explain the artistic process but what I can say is that I didn´t want him to appear as a “Burmese Refugee” but rather a person, a man and individual that we can all relate to… outside of his country.

MG: Tell us about Diversity Face Films?
TB: Its mission is to promote diverse faces on screen, diverse or “unique stories”, and diverse crews from around the world. I feel the world is diverse and I hope our films can be more reflective of that.

MG: What do you have planned next?
TB: I just finished co-writing a TV pilot for “The Poacher” a 1890?s Western drama, a feature film based on the life of a Canadian international folk singer and short documentary Diversity Face series. Too much work ahead of me!