Mystic Ball

Hot Docs 2006 Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature winner first time director Greg Hamilton accepts his award for his entertaining film on Myanmar’s favourite sport – Chinlone.

by Shael Stolberg for Festival Products

The award winning Mystic Ball is an engaging portrait of one man’s passion; chinlone. Canadian first-time filmmaker Greg Hamilton takes as on his journey to understand this sport played in Myanmar and said to be at least 1,500 years old.

A former martial arts expert, Hamilton falls in love with this sport in which the goal is not to gather points or knock someone down but “beauty and elegance”. It is played with a specially constructed bamboo ball either individually or with a team. He documents his journeys to Myanmar, the only place it is played, and his growth as a team player to the point in which he is able to play on the best chinlone teams in the country during a special tournament.

As Hamilton becomes more and more a part of the Myanmar chinlone community during his visits to the country, his skills increase as does his passion. At one point he states that he feels more at home in Myanmar then in Toronto.

His belief that “chinlone is a way of loving” is a beautiful sentiment and will hopefully help him in achieving his next goal: creating a tour for the best chinlone players in the world.

Shael Stolberg is the publisher of this site as well as the em>International Film Festival Guide. He has moderated panels at different festivals including “Filmmaking Outside the Mainstream”, “Women in Film” & “ Film Distribution and Finance” as well as others at various festivals. He has also given seminars about film festivals and independent film at the REEL School and New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts in New York City and the Los Angeles Film School.

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