Everyone has a dream. Unfortunately without a plan of action it’s likely to remain just that, a dream. Him Thideth, a 20-year-old from Kandal, dreams of being a filmmaker and has made that dream a step closer to reality by getting a scholarship to study directing at Im Kwon Taek College of Film and Performing Art at Dongseo University in South Korea.
“I want to be a film director. My three role models include Khmer filmmaker Ly Bun Yim, Korean filmmaker Park Chan Wook, and Hollywood filmmaker Christopher Nolan,” he says.
Before being awarded the scholarship, Thideth majors weren’t even related to filmmaking, instead he pursued his interest with friends, making short videos for YouTube, eventually creating a Facebook page to upload their latest videos.
“Film is a combination of everything. Once one has an idea, they should grab a pen to jot it down and look for friends who can contribute to making the idea happen,” Thideth says.
Remembering the application process for the scholarship he thought he had no chance.
“It was really unexpected that I was actually selected for the final round, the interview stage,” he said.
“The interview stage was the most challenging of all for me. I was asked questions by one Western and two Korean interviewers. I told them about my great interest in film and showed them my achievements. Finally, I was given a chance to do a four-year bachelor course. ”
Inevitably, there are still many difficulties in living, communicating and studying abroad.
“Requesting people to help is difficult, and it is worse for me when there are so few people who speak English. As for my learning process, it is really a difficult thing when it comes to me making a film because I have to write its script perfectly.
Therefore it takes so much time that I can barely meet the school’s deadlines,” Thideth said.
Despite the difficulties, Thideth, has managed to make two films and become a cinematographer for an upperclass man at this university.
Thideth does not regret his decision to study in Korea. He says that the education system in Korea is at a high standard with plenty of equipment, high competition, lots of opportunities and qualified professors.
Each student is also offered health insurance and has a big library for research.
“All I have learned is new to me. I have learned how to analyse films, edit photographs, be a cinematographer and write scripts,” he said.
Living and studying in Korea has also given him insights in to why their local cinema has been attracting attention from wide variety of audiences. He tells Lift in addition to receiving constant government support for the film industry it has a group of very talented directors who are able to make films that value feelings. There is also a star system much like Hollywood with a clear and systematic shooting process.
He still dreams of being a film director when he returns to Cambodia but also wants to help others study filmmaking. Having this advice for those who might have similar dreams: “Anyone who wishes to work in filmmaking should pursue their dream. It absolutely is not a shame for us to just want to show the whole world our ability.”