Search Museum of the Moving Image


The Vanishing Flame: Burma


With filmmaker Vincent Giordano, martial arts experts Grandmaster Maung Gyi, Ph.D. and Sayama Mary Mester, and composer & music supervisor Camus Celli in person

The Vanishing Flame: Burma is filmmaker Vincent Giordano’s investigative journey into the hidden world of Burma’s ancient martial practices and systems. Focusing on Burmese martial tradition, this very special presentation will explore the rich ethnic diversity and cultural heritage that is woven within this ancient culture. The program will include a screening of two short films–Burmese Martial Culture (40 mins.); Bare Knuckle Warriors: The Art of Burmese Lethwei (37 mins.)–followed by a live discussion with a panel of experts highlighting not only the physical techniques but also the deeply spiritual roots of the traditional Burmese martial arts.

Free with Museum admission.


Vincent Giordano

Vincent Giordano is an award winning NYC based Director/Cameraman. He formed his first film production company at the age of 23 at Kaufman Astoria Studios and went on to make many popular music videos, documentaries and feature films. Vincent has worked with several top bands including spending over four years filming exclusively for Metallica. His martial arts training began as a young boy growing up in Brooklyn and he continued on this personal path by traveling, training and living extensively throughout Southeast Asia, Asia and India to seek a higher level of mastery. Vincent began teaching in 1991 in a private, non-commercial manner to focus on helping others reach their highest potential and the early makings of the Vanishing Flame project was born during this 21 year cycle. He is currently at work on a series of documentaries exploring various Southeast Asian traditions and a dramatic feature film set in Cambodia. Vincent Giordano appeared at the Museum in 2011 for the program, The Vanishing Flame: A Filmmaker’s Journey to Document the Endangered Martial Arts of Asia.

Grandmaster Maung Gyi

Grandmaster Maung Gyi, Ph.D. is considered the father of Burmese Bando in the United States. He was born in Burma and began teaching Burmese Martial Arts in the early 1960s after relocating to the U.S. In 1966, he established the American Bando Association (ABA) as a private, non-profit martial arts organization to honor WW II veterans as well as to teach the full spectrum of Burmese Bando. Dr. Gyi is a Professor Emeritus at Ohio University and recently retired after 30 years of teaching. He continues to mentor and teach his close circle of Bando students and instructors through his special clinics and seminars.

Sayama Mary Mester

Sayama Mary Mester is a sixth degree black belt in Bando and the current President of the American Bando Association. She continues teaching and training on a regular basis at the Greater Hartford Bando School in Glastonbury. Outside of the Martial Arts, she is a mother of two, is bi-lingual in American Sign Language, is a Co-Founder of The Communication Advocacy Network serving the Deaf community, studies Chinese herbology, nutrition, and fitness and is a practicing residential Architect.

Camus Celli

Camus Celli is a New York based composer, music supervisor and President of Vel Records. He has traveled worldwide including extended trips to Burma, Thailand, Brazil and India. Camus contributed his extensive music and sound skills to all of the Vanishing Flame productions. He has trained in martial arts, yoga, and other holistic modalities for over seventeen years.