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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Highlights of the coming year in culture, politics and more

Highlights of the coming year in culture, politics and more

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January

Adaptation of Francois Bizot’s The Gate starts filming in Siem Reap:
The filming of a joint Cambodian-French adaptation of Francois Bizot’s memoir The Gate will begin in January. The book, which was published in 2003, tells the story of the French ethnologist’s capture under the Khmer Rouge in 1971, four years before they came to power. The film will be directed by Rithy Panh and Regis Wargnier.
Siem Reap.

Director Rithy Panh is nominated for an Oscar?
On the 16th, the Academy Awards will announce the final shortlist of five nominees for the foreign language film category. Cambodian-French filmmaker Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture, which re-creates the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge regime using clay figures, has made it to the last nine, from the original list of more than 70 films submitted.
Los Angeles.

Our City festival begins:
The Our City festival will present a series of art, architecture and urban planning themed exhibitions, events, performances, screenings, educational talks and tours and workshops across Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang in an attempt to stimulate ideas and discussion about the development and future of Cambodia’s urban environments. Runs from January 17 to 26 in Phnom Penh and the subsequent weekends in Siem Reap and then Battambang.
Various venues, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.

PP Designers’ Week:
After the success of the first event last year, a three-day long fashion week will be held at The Plantation Urban Resort. Each day will feature three designers, including Waterlily, CGBCN, A.N.D and Eric Raisina. The fun kicks off on the 13th.
The Plantation, Street 184, Phnom Penh.

Cambodia Living Arts celebrates 15 years:
Arts organisation Cambodian Living Arts, which aims to keep traditional music alive, will celebrate its fifteenth anniversary in January, and will commemorate with a photography exhibition on January 23. The display will document founder Arn Chorn-Pond’s journey fifteen years ago to reunite Cambodia’s artists who survived the Khmer Rouge era. It will also show photographs and testimonials of key points in the history of Cambodian Living Arts.
Cambodia Living Arts, #128G9 Sothearos Boulevard, Phnom Penh

Burger King opens a branch in Boeung Keng Kang One:
A sign has popped up announcing the arrival of Burger King at the old True Coffee shop at the corner of Streets 51 and 310 in BKK1. After almost a year of operations at Phnom Penh International Airport, the manager announced in December that the American fast food chain’s first outlet in the city itself would open in January.
Corner Streets 51 & 310, Phnom Penh

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February & March

Friends International hold music festival:
Friends International will celebrate its 20-year anniversary on February 8 with a family friendly music festival. The boldly titled International Amazing Acoustic Picnic will feature a mix of local and international artists, food from the Friends restaurants, craft for children and pedicures and massages for adults.
Mith Samlanh Centre, Street 13, Phnom Penh, 2pm.

Rithy Panh wins an Oscar?
The Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 2 could see Rithy Panh receive his, and Cambodia’s first Oscar. He will learn whether The Missing Picture has secured a nomination in early January. The other films in contention for a nomination include Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad’s thriller Omar and Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai’s ode to the Kung Fu martial arts genre, The Grandmaster.
Los Angeles.

CAMBODIA Fashion Illumination Spring/Summer:
Sovereign Retail Group, which specialises in importing and retailing luxury fashion items, will be holding the second Cambodia Fashion Illumination show at Diamond Island City Hall on February, 21 to 22. The event, which is to include six local designers and eight international brands, aims to bring Cambodian and foreign designers together to generate global buzz on the Kingdom’s fashion scene. The Kingdom will be represented by six brands, including Soknan, Rong, Seam Fashion, Chin FDesign, CGBCN and Natacha Van. The eight international companies will include denim giant Levi’s from the United States, Axara from France and Mango from Spain.
Diamond Island City Hall, Phnom Penh

Giant Puppet Parade:
The annual puppet show, featuring a parade of enormous illuminated puppets ranging in size from 10 to 33 metres, will be held in Siem Reap, on February 22. The event is a community-based arts project involving various organisations. Children carry the puppets, which are modeled after ancient Chinese dragon puppets, and address various community themes: road safety, endangered species, hygiene, local cultural appreciation, environmental awareness and more.
Starts at the Old Market, Siem Reap.

Chaktomuk Film Festival:
Cambodian film will continue to be celebrated in March with the third edition of the Chaktomouk Short Film Festival, organised by Kon Khmer Koun Khmer and the Bophana Centre. Held between March 26 and 29, it will take place in various locations around Phnom Penh. The Festival will promote filmmakers from Cambodia and other Southeast Asian nations. Running parallel will be FilmCampKH, a workshop for young filmmakers. Last year was a success for Cambodian short film, with young filmmaker Kavich Neang’s Where I Go, following a young man trying to track down his African father, screening at several international film festivals. Deadline for submission is Wednesday, January 15 and the categories will be Southeast Asian Competition, Cambodian Competition and Short Films Showcase.
Various venues, Phnom Penh.

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April & May

Khmer New Year:
Falling over April 13 to 16 this year, Khmer New Year is the Kingdom’s most important festival. Locals load up on incense and fruit to ring in the incoming year, as well as play traditional games like pole-climbing and dancing with pots. Battambang is well-known for New Year boxing matches while Kandal province’s Mekong Beach, or Koh Dach, is a popular spot for lounging by waterfront cottages. The nearby Wat En Pise celebrates with 12 days of games. Revellers paint their faces with powder and throw water over each other. Prey Ta Ouk village in Kangpisey district, Kampong Speu province holds an annual traditional oxcart race on April 12, one day before Khmer New Year begins.
Various venues.

Vattanac Capital Tower opens
The 188-metre, 39-storey building is already a distinct feature of the Phnom Penh skyline. Shaped like a dragon’s back, the tower is set to open in spring 2014. Inside, there will be 21 floors of office space. International luxury hotel and resort group Rosewood will operate the top 14 floors. There will also be a high-end retail zone and a ‘lifestyle cube’ with medical, education and entertainment facilities.
Monivong Boulevard, Phnom Penh.

Contemporary dance platform:
An evening of modern Cambodian dance will be held in May by Amrita Performing Arts after last year’s November showcase sold-out. Dancers combine new skills, which were developed after working with international collaborators, with classical styles. November’s event featured two new works: Bach Cello Suites by Chumvan Sodhachivy and Dream by Nan Narim, which were presented alongside Ferocious Compassion by Peter Chin, artistic director of Toronto based Tribal Crackling Wind. The public performance was followed the next day by two intensive sessions with international guests.
To be confirmed.

Memory International Film Heritage festival begins:
An international film festival will run May 31 to June 8, on the theme of ‘Laughter’. Last year’s nine-day event showcased local and foreign films by filmmakers ranging from Georges Méliès to late King Father Norodom Sihanouk. In the spirit of heritage, the films were mostly screened in the Chaktomuk Theatre on Sisowath Quay, which was designed by acclaimed Khmer architect Vann Molyvann and completed in 1961.
To be confirmed.

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June, July & August

World Cup 2014 is screened on CTN:
Broadcaster Cambodian Television Network (CTN) last year secured the exclusive free-to-air and pay-TV rights to screen the 2014 FIFA World Cup live from Brazil. The games kick off on June 12 with Brazil playing Croatia. (Sadly, Cambodia didn’t make the cut this year. The last time Cambodia took part in a large international football tournament was ASEAN 2008, when they played three games, scored two goals and were knocked out.) CTN, owned by the Royal Group and operated by Cambodian Broadcast Service (CBS), outbid other TV stations to secure their second successive rights to the quadrennial tournament after South Africa’s 2010 edition. World Cup coverage, set to be run on both CTN and its sister channel MyTV, should extend beyond the actual tournament, with official FIFA football events during the build-up to the summer being partially or fully covered by the station. Live matches from the World Cup are set to be broadcast between the hours of 11pm and 7am Cambodian time.
Various venues.

Luxury car dealerships open:
Those lucky enough to be in the market for a luxury drive should be able to get their paws on a Porsche or an Audi by mid-2014. Porsche announced plans to open a full sales, service and spare parts facility in Phnom Penh.
To be confirmed.

Cambodia’s first full marathon:
Cambodia’s most famous architectural and cultural icon already is home to an international half marathon. But, if everything goes to plan, the Angkor complex will host a traditional 42km marathon in September. A large number of foreign and local runners who regularly participate in the annual Angkor Wat International Half Marathon urged the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia to launch a conventional 42-km race.
Various venues, Siem Reap.

Aeon mall opens:
Japanese megamall operator Aeon Group is set to open a $205 million, 68,000 square metre mall with more than 100,000 square metres of floor space, about 150 shops and parking capacity for 1,400 cars and 1,800 motorbikes on Sothearos Boulevard, next to the Sofitel, in July.
Sothearos Boulevard, Phnom Penh.

Youth Arts Festival:
Currently slated for August 2014, the festival will be hosted by arts organisation Cambodia Living Arts in partnership with the Royal University of Fine Arts and the National Museum. The organisers plan to turn the entire area into a festival campus. Previous years have brought together live performances from both amateur and professional artists as well as demonstrations, jam sessions, visual arts and talks.
Street 278, Phnom Penh.

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