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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trafficking theme for this year’s short film festival

Somchanrith Chap’s A Fistful of Pebbles was the winner of last year’s Chaktomuk short film festival. Entries for this year’s festival opened on Friday. Photo supplied
Somchanrith Chap’s A Fistful of Pebbles was the winner of last year’s Chaktomuk short film festival. Entries for this year’s festival opened on Friday. Photo supplied

Trafficking theme for this year’s short film festival

Submissions have opened for the fifth annual Chaktomuk Short Film Festival set for November 4 through 6 in Phnom Penh.

The festival – which is being organised by Cambodian film collective Kon Khmer Koun Khmer (4K) in collaboration with modelling and talent agency RHA – will have both competition and showcase elements.

Last year’s event had more 200 entries from Cambodia and around the world.

RHA founder and festival director Hou Remy yesterday said that he would like to see films that draw upon a variety of art forms such as music and dance.

“I don’t think what we’re doing is any different than what Norodom Sihanouk did to put Cambodia on the map in terms of arts and culture,” he added, referring to the late King’s legacy as a patron of the arts in the ’50s and ’60s.

This year, organisers have set the theme of human trafficking and migration.

“The more films produced within Chaktomuk Film Project and submitted to CSFF, the more content we can [use] to keep our public informed about such a main issue in Cambodian society,” Seang Meng, from supporting partner Winrock Cambodia’s Countering Trafficking-In-Persons program, said at a press conference announcing the festival on Friday.

4K adviser Sum Sithen yesterday said that like with last year a series of networking events and workshops for young Cambodian filmmakers will be held in the run-up to the festival.

For 4K’s Chaktomuk Film Project, around 30 filmmakers will have the chance to attend three-day training in Phnom Penh, followed by three days of shooting in Siem Reap and then four days of editing.

“We hope to bridge the gap between Cambodian filmmakers and international filmmakers,” he continued, adding that more experienced Cambodian artists will be encouraged to submit their work both for the local and international categories.

The Ministry of Culture’s department of cinema and cultural diffusion director Sin Chansaya at the launch also offered encouragement.

“Although our local films are not yet comparable to foreign ones, I encourage our [young] filmmakers to produce more and better works, especially through CSFF,” he said. “It is very important for Kon Khmer Koun Khmer and RHA to raise such a hot issue as human trafficking … I would only recommend the production of those short films to feel as close to reality as possible.”

Prizes will go to jury- and audience-selected films in both categories. Winners from the local category will receive cash prizes of $1,000 and $500 for the jury and audience choices respectively.

The winner of last year’s short film competition was A Fistful of Pebbles by Somchanrith Chap.

Foreign submissions must be subtitled in English. The shorts must be works of fiction, cannot exceed a run-time of 30 minutes and must be submitted by August 31.

For more information visit chaktomukshortfilmfestival.com.

A previous version of this article stated that this year was the fourth edition of CSFF. In fact, it is the fifth.
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