Photo by: TRACEY SHELTON
One of the film’s lead stars, Ung Thavedy (second from left), at the premiere of Sunrise: Hope Shines.
MORE than 130 children from Phnom Penh's Sunrise Children's Village waited in hushed anticipation for the curtain to rise on Tuesday on the Cambodian premiere of Sunrise: Hope Shines - a short film made by 31 of the children who live at the orphanage.
The 20-minute dramatic film follows the struggles of a young boy whose mother has disappeared. He is forced to forfeit his education to hold his family together and look after his two younger sisters.
The film is the product of 12 months of collaboration between advertising and marketing agency Bates 141, various industry professionals and children from the orphanage.
Australian filmmaker Platon Theodoris, who was invited by Bates 141 to run film workshops with the children, said the high quality of the film was an unexpected result.
"Originally, the workshops and the film were just a process - we weren't expecting much of a result. But then, as we started shooting, we realised that the kids were giving so much more, and it turned into something quite beautiful," he said.
Theodoris now hopes that the kids will be inspired enough to take up filmmaking.
"I want them to get involved and reignite Cambodia's film industry - to write their own stories," he said.
Marianne Waller, country director of Bates 141, complimented the children on their professionalism throughout the filmmaking process.
"Everyone naturally fell into their roles....They were really patient, really professional. They were a real film crew. I'd use them again in a paying job. They were just brilliant."
The film was laboured over by seven children working as writers, 13 children as film crew and 11 children as actors, with ages ranging from 5 to 17 years old.
The 8-year-old star of the film, Chim Sokheang, said that he felt happy to finally see the film on the big screen.
Louch Tai Eng, the film's slate man, said that he wants the film's audience to experience the film together and "to feel together, in community with each other".
Sunrise: Hope Shines will appear in festivals around the world and may also be released for public and charity screenings.