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Dubbing Hunger Games

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From left: singer Sapon Midada, actor Pen Chamrong and actress Mak Sensonita at a press event earlier this

The Hunger Games has become the first Hollywood film to be dubbed into Khmer by local pop stars, according to an executive with West-Tech Media. The blockuster about a post-apopolytic world borrows the voices of singers like Sampon Midada and Sok Somavortey, and actors Pen Chamrong and Mak Sensonita, among others, Bun Chan Dararoth said.

The blockbuster’s been showing at Legend Cinema since May 8 and at the Cineplex at Sorya mall since May 9. The futuristic dystopia takes place in a nation called Panem, which has a wealthy, hi-tech Capitol surrounded by 12 less privileged districts. As punishment for a failed rebellion against the government, televised Hunger Games have been initiated with each district having to send one girl and one boy to participate in the annual event that leaves only one of the youths alive. The youths are selected by lottery and their lives are considered a tribute to be paid to the Capitol’s elite.

Sampon Midada said the dubbing was hard work. “For me it is not so easy to do because I only  play the guitar and sing, or act. Putting my voice into the film emotionally and repeatedly was quite different,” he said. Once he got the hang of it, however, he said it described dubbing as a “new job he loved to do”.

“I am really proud of getting this job. I have a chance to update my career,” said Pen Chamrong. “Dubbing Western films is not as easy as Asian films. It’s more difficult to connect with the emotions and the techniques to do this are different. For us, this was a new step.”

Sensonita said her experience was like Pen Chamrong’s. “I think we need to develop our dubbing, like how to use voice more emotionally. I hope the next story is not so difficult,” she said.

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