A new online TV channel, Siem Reap TV, launched last week promising weekly five minute ‘webisodes’ exploring life in and around Temple Town.
Hosted by young Siem Reap presenter Lilly Phy, the idea is to take viewers “beyond the temples” to little-known corners of the town, and introduce them to some interesting local characters.
The company was set up by Canadians Mitch St Pierre and Scott Sanderson, who both have made documentary films.
“Scott and I have been doing a lot of filmmaking for several years. We’ve done some stuff for TV in Canada and so even though we both have our own businesses here, we wanted to continue the filmmaking as well,” says St Pierre, who also owns Lotus Lodge hotel.
“We figured what better way than to have rather than a foreigner, a Cambodian person highlight a lot of the most interesting stories and places in Siem Reap.
“Lilly works in my hotel and is an amazing character – she’s great on camera and so we figured she’d be the perfect person to get Siem Reap TV going.”
Lilly, 20, has never presented before but says she is loving every moment of being in front of the camera. On a 30 second taster clip St Pierre and Sanderson have uploaded, she certainly seems a natural, relaxed and full of energy.
“I’ve never been on video or YouTube before, but I think this is awesome and I feel so happy,” she says. “This is what I want to do. I’m really excited when I make these videos. I want to take this further and further, and show Cambodia to all the people around the world.”
Stories, Sanderson says, can be anything from off-the-beaten-track places, to the ‘white monk’ of Siem Reap.
“We don’t just want to do temple stories, but human interest stories – the white monk for example, something like that,” says Sanderson. “He’s a monk at a pagoda, an old Australian guy – how does a white monk end up in Cambodia? Things like that.”
St Pierre adds, “We want to focus on highlighting some businesses in the city too, a lot of the positive work that people are doing in Siem Reap, and maybe untold stories in Siem Reap as well.
“And with Lilly being able to speak Khmer, it’s easy for her to connect with a Cambodian person. When you see people visit Cambodia on TV or on YouTube, it’s always a foreigner telling the stories of Cambodia, so really I think it’s great to have Lilly who can give the stories from a Cambodian perspective. She’s going to be the one bringing the audience along and showing all the beautiful places and the wonderful people.”
Their first piece will see Lilly travel in a plane for the very first time – and not just any old plane.
“She’s going to go in the micro-light aircraft which is only the pilot and the passenger, so it’ll be Lilly’s first time and her experience doing that. We’ll also be telling the pilot’s story, how he got here, because back in the day he used to be taking National Geographic researchers up, and archeologists, “ says St Pierre. “I think it’ll be an interesting start to the episodes.”
Siem Reap TV can be found at: www.siemreaptv.com.