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Cambodia International Film Festival opens

October 20, 2010

Poster by artist Leang Seckon

The Cambodia International Film Festival opened tonight with a ceremony at the beautiful Chaktomuk Hall by visionary architect Vann Molyvann from 1961.

As if to proove that old Cambodian-Vietnamese animosities are not a thing of the past, the festival competes with the Vietnam International Film Festival, that opened three days earlier and is still ongoing.

The festival screens 120 films, many of them shorts, mostly from DVD and other digital formats. As one of the organizers of the festival is the Cambodian Film Commission that wants to draw more attention to Cambodia as a location for international film productions, one film that is shown in 35 mm format is their prestige project so far, Detlev Buck’s “Same Same but different” from Germany, that was shot in Phnom in early 2009.

A highlight of the festival is the premiere of “Lost Loves”, the story of a family under the Khmer Rouge by Chhay Bora. The first-time-director is an alumni of the Royal University of Art, who runs a travel agency in Phnom Penh as his day job and wrote, directed, produced and financed the film by himself. Judging from the excerpts that were shown a couple of weeks ago at local arts center Meta House, it is a solidly made film, even though the low budget shows in the scenes that take place during the Lon Nol government that ruled Cambodia from 1970 to 1975, before the Khmer Rouge took over.

That the final festival program was available only this morning tells you something about the organisation of this event.


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