Burmese Festival of Paper Fire-Balloons


Narration and Production by Elaine Koretsky

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In 1995, Elaine and Sidney Koretsky documented the extraordinary Buddhist Festival of Paper Fire-Balloons in Taunggyi, Myanmar. The night balloons were 30 feet high, made entirely from sheets of handmade paper, and propelled into the night sky by hot air generated by a fire element located in the open circular base of the balloon. Below the balloon was a tail of exploding fireworks, which produced a dazzling display in the night sky. Thousands of spectators watched and heard the celebration. This film also shows how the traditional paper was made and how the sheets were used to create the large sized hot air balloons. There were balloons also launched during the day in the shapes of birds, fish , and other animals, soaring into the heavens in a spectacular display. The powerful ambient sounds precluded the need for any background music. Running time: 42 minutes. 1995.
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