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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Engaged café revamps with a social-justice film studio

The new video production space is open to those examining social justice issues through film.
The new video production space is open to those examining social justice issues through film. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

Engaged café revamps with a social-justice film studio

The Justice Café and Library, which opened last year as a space for the Kingdom’s socially aware youth to study and hang out, has recently expanded to include a video production space accessible to those wishing to explore social justice issues through film.

Soon to be equipped with lights, cameras, microphones and a green screen, the media production space is meant to be “a tool to make change”, according to Céline Martin, a program manager with Destination Justice, the NGO that runs the café.

“The target is to train young people to do their own videos,” she says.

In addition to the café’s pre-existing events space, the new studio will be open to individuals as well as for organisations.

Already, the studio has produced a short animated film as a collaborative project with Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), an LGBT advocacy group. The video features animated characters speaking in Khmer about gender and sexual identity.

The animation advocates nondiscrimination and understanding through a series of anecdotes and is narrated by a female character named Leaphy.

“Love always wins!” she exclaims at one point as the image of a pride flag appears onscreen.

Sorng Sofok produced an animation on identity.
Sorng Sofok produced an animation on identity. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

“The idea is to continue to do stuff like this,” says Martin. “But our target is to train young people to do their own videos so they can make the change they want.”

Sorng Sofok, who produced the video for RoCK, says he will be assisting with an upcoming training session.

Over the past year, the Justice Café has held talks and screenings on subjects ranging from human trafficking to criminal justice. Speakers have included Anta Guissé, a defence lawyer for Khieu Samphan, and Road Safety Institute director Ear Chariya, who spoke on the occasion of the release of a short film about traffic accidents.

Martin hopes the new space is a place for staging future films. “But the idea is not for us to make the change, but to encourage,” she says.

The Justice Café and Library, #D5 Street 53BT, is open on Monday through Friday. Tel: 086 588 512.

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