A new advertising campaign featuring Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie posing on a wooden boat in Siem Reap province with a £7,000 (US$11,374) handbag was launched yesterday in the International Herald Tribune newspaper.
The adverts, shot by world- famous photographer Annie Leibovitz for the Louis Vuitton Core Values advertising campaign, feature Jolie “sitting barefoot in a traditional wooden boat in the luxuriant, watery landscape of Siem Reap province”, according to an official press release.
Matthew Robinson, founder of Khmer Mekong Films, said yesterday that regardless of how successful the campaign might prove, the sheer scale of the production alone had provided a valuable contribution to the Kingdom’s economy.
“Any production, whether it’s advertising, whether it’s TV spots or a movie or a drama coming from outside is going to boost the economy,” he said, adding that such jobs typically provided employment and valuable experience to Cambodians.
Louis Vuitton declined to comment on the amount of money spent on the production yesterday, but Robinson stressed that it had been an expensive campaign, pumping dollars into the Siem Reap tourist economy as well.
Western press outlets have reported that Jolie received US$10 million for the campaign, a figure Louis Vuitton yesterday declined to confirm. They also declined to specify how much of the sum the star would donate to charity, though the wording of the official press release indicates she will donate her entire fee.
Jolie is no stranger to philanthropic activities in Cambodia, having established her own NGO, the Maddox Jolie-Pitt foundation, named after her adopted Cambodian son and set up in 2003 to tackle environmental degradation in Battambang’s Samlot district.
Her interest in the country may stem from a shoot here in 2000 for the action movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Jolie could be back behind the camera in the Kingdom yet again if producer Thomas Magyar gets his way. He announced in September that he was hoping to secure the actress for a US$70 million production to be filmed in Cambodia and tentatively titled The Great Khmer Empire. There is no word yet on whether Jolie is interested.