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Festival encourages a scientific climate

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Sudents study a Khmer Science Film Festival programme before a screening at Wat Koh high school in Phnom Penh last Thursday.

Climate change is projected at a new science film festival

WHILE pondering how a gecko can climb a wall may not be on top of everybody’s “to do” list, organisers of a science film festival in Phnom Penh hope their screenings will inspire the scientific curiosity of a new generation of Cambodians.

Films screening this month in the First Khmer Science Film Festival tackle the peculiarities of gravity-defying lizards through to the pressing scientific problems of climate change.

After watching a film on climate change, Norton University student Choun Srey Nith expressed concern about possible future harm to the world’s natural environment.

“It makes me feel worried, because the climate is changing a lot now,” Choun Srey Nith said. “It is the hottest year for the cold season in Cambodia.”

Va Sovann, a student of Pannasastra University echoed these concerns.

“I believe that if we don’t have appropriate protection, the ice at the poles will melt and there will be floods, irregular rains and a lack of clean water and habitat.”

The festival is targeting primary, secondary and university students with 13 films dubbed in Khmer. The films are screening at high schools and universities as well as at Wat Botum Park and the French Cultural Centre.

Speaking at the festival opening at the Cambodia Japan Cooperation Centre, UNESCO’s representative in Cambodia, Teruo Jinnai, said it was important for students to have a scientific understanding of climate change.

“We have already watched many horror and love movies,” Jinnai said.

“These films not only educate, but also entertain.”

Deputy minister for education, Im Sothy, said people needed to know about the uses of modern technology as well as protection of the environment.

“This audiovisual production does well to raise the awareness of science and technology,” he said.

After the screenings, students were given a questionnaire, with prizes awarded by festival organiser Khmer Youth and Social Development (KYSD) for the top 10 contributors.

KYSD coordinator Chhean Chan Heang said he would like to see an expanded project.

“This is the first short project, but KYSD hopes that UNESCO will continue with a longer project related to science in the future,” he said.
More festival screenings will take place at Botum Park on November 27, 28 and 29 from 6pm.

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