AS the Cambodian film industry struggles with piracy and film closures, many local filmmakers have trouble finding their place in the industry.
This hasn’t stopped 28-year-old filmmaker Kao Seiha from starting production of a drama that tackles some of Cambodia’s more sensitive subjects.
Kao Seiha’s movie, High School Love’s Story, deals with the tale of a family whose mother abandons her HIV-positive husband.
“It mainly focuses on the situation of people living with HIV/AIDS, gay sex and the discrimination people living with HIV/AIDS endure,” said Kao Seiha at the ceremony marking the beginning of shooting.
The movie also tackles the grim results of a broken family. “Children can easily go the wrong way if they lack care from their parents, particularly the mother. I want to explain that the happiness in a family is not based only on money. The important thing for families is to struggle together through hard times, especially for the sake of the children’s future,” Kao Seiha explains.
The movie’s budget is set at US$30,000 and Kao Seiha expects shooting to last for one month.
“I do not expect monetary gain from making this film but if it does gain some money, I will produce the next movie.”
The cast includes several local actors and actresses, including Keat Sovanna Lang as the leading female Thida. Kao Seiha said she was selected after being impressed by her previous productions, such as Hang Meas and Big Man. “Thida is a gentle girl,” says Keat Sovanna Lang. “I think
I have similar characteristics.”
The main actor is Chea Vannarith, who is known in Cambodia for his martial arts skills. “The audiences will be surprised with Chea Vannarith, who has always been a good actor, but in this film, he will play a gang member and demonstrate his taekwondo fighting skills,” says Kao Seiha.
The plan for film production will reflect a Cambodian film industry that isn’t completely lost quite yet. “I will try my best to make a good quality movie,” the filmmaker said.
Kao Seiha said this is his first experience making a feature film. Before, Kao Seiha assisted with Ministry of Education, Youths and Sports productions, and dabbled in novel writing, which won him first place in the Mekong Novel Competition in February 2009.