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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MY PHNOM PENH: CHHAY BORA


Chhay Bora is president of the Motion Picture Association of Cambodia.
Chhay Bora is president of the Motion Picture Association of Cambodia.


Best known for making the Khmer Rouge-era drama Lost Loves, Chhay Bora is also president of the Motion Picture Association of Cambodia

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My two favourite cafes are Brown and Gloria Jean’s. I go there for meetings with business associates and friends or other filmmakers. Sometimes I like to sit there and write my stories and scripts. At the Gloria Jean’s on the Riverside, they have an air-con room and a glass wall you can see through to the river. I love to go there in the evenings. I also often go to my local coffee shop in Tuol Kork where it’s 2,000 riel for a coffee. I like hearing the stories from old people and motodops and tuk tuk drivers. There are a lot of stories for filmmakers to hear.

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I watch movies every day. At least half an hour in the morning, half hour in the afternoon and half an hour at night, and then totally I finish one film every day. Sometimes I feel a film gets boring but I have to finish it. I never skip a film – even if it’s not good. Mostly I watch films on Digi. My internet connection is Digi and they provide free movies. You just select the poster then you stream very fast. I don’t need to turn on my PC. I just have it on my television, big screen. My family pays $18 a month for the internet, but that’s only for movies. My children use their phones. In my house, the internet is just for watching films.

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Sometimes my family goes to Russian Market to buy cheap clothes from the factory, good quality. I love to eat the food inside the market – and the coffee. There’s a traditional fried noodle with sauce in Russian Market that’s very hard to find anywhere else: kway teow cha. Fried noodles – there are two different ways. The Chinese way is they put meat and they fry with instant noodles or yellow noodles, but this one is white rice noodles with vegetables and sweet sour sauce. If you need, they make it with chicken. Sometimes they make with spring rolls inside. Today in the modern restaurant they never cook that food. If you want the traditional food that you eat during childhood then you have to go to the market.

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For making films, I use the cinema camera Black Magic. I have two sets, and I also have a Canon 5D Mk III, one set. The 5D for me is good for photos, but for shooting films the dynamic range is very small, and when you see on the screen comparing quality between the Black Magic cinema camera and the DSLR, the Black Magic is much better. You can buy Black Magic cameras at Camera Hub on Monivong Boulevard. If we shoot a feature film, I recommend filmmakers to shoot with the Black Magic, with the low budget film. They’re cheap – only like $2,000.

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We have a lot of fish in our house. They keep us busy on the weekends, cleaning their tanks and feeding them, or just sitting and watching them. We made the tanks ourselves out of concrete. We took the garden away and converted it to a fishtank area. You can buy different coloured fish from the markets, fish from China or Vietnam or Cambodia, or there are several shops down on Street 63 near Wat Ko. They’re very cheap. We have grown them for 10 years. We have a catfish that was tiny when we bought it and now it’s as big as your arm.


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