Karen Katz makes a hit documentary about Burmese refugees


Producer Karen Katz has made her first documentary film, and it is coming to a screen near you soon.

Titled Moving to Mars, it tells the story of two refugee families from Burma who are given the opportunity to start their lives again and resettle in Sheffield as part of a UN scheme.

It will be shown at the 2009 Sheffield Doc/Fest on November 4 and be screened as part of the True Stories series, which showcases the best of international feature documentaries, on More4 in January.

Ms Katz and her production company, Coded Pictures, follow the families on their journey and over the course of their first year in Britain.

Formerly at the BBC, Miramax and Trademark Films, Ms Katz says this film was particularly interesting to work on. She tells People: “Having access to these two amazing families has been fascinating: seeing the highs and lows, problems they encounter and how the UK responds to them.”

She points out the parallel between the immigrants and Jewish refugees. “I think this aspect of remembering immigrants drew me to the film in some way.” The family’s stories give a unique insight into the experiences of displaced people in the UK, while showing the human consequences of Burma’s political climate.

London-based Ms Katz began her industry career as an assistant to Paul Hamann, then head of BBC Documentaries. After ten years’ experience of acquisitions, sales and development at Miramax and Trademark Films, she established her own production company, Coded Pictures.

Moving to Mars is directed by Mat Whitecross, who co-directed The Road to Guantanamo.

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