ALTERNATIVE FESTIVAL BUZZ
The clickerati are in town – dozens of would-be professional photographers have been prowling the streets armed with Canons and Nikons, snapping furiously at anything that moves. They are mostly students at the Angkor Photo Workshop held at the FCC, the only remaining legacy of this year’s doomed photo festival.
While the festival itself did not take place, local photographers created their own festive atmosphere. The photo workshop launched with a slide presentation last Saturday night at the FCC, and this coincided with the launch of an Angkor Alternative exhibition at Eric de Vries’ 4Faces café gallery. This created a buzz and attracted luminaries such as Lonely Planet author Nick Ray, local arts maven Sasha Constable, and iconic snapper John McDermott.
A surprise face in town was Paris-based Camille Plante. She announced in June that she was quitting the Angkor Photo Festival, but last week was back, seemingly in charge and urgently dispatching emails tagged as from Camille, “General Coordinator, Angkor Photo Festival,” and “Chargée de projets culturels.”
If anything, the week proved that festival organisers should strive to increase their involvement with the local Siem Reap arts community in their future plans.
NGO GETS THE BOOT
Siem Reap NGO, Voice (Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment) was given 24 hours to quit the Kingdom early this month. They got their departure notice on a Monday afternoon and were gone by Tuesday evening.
Voice’s dramatic exit has caused shockwaves among Siem Reaps’ NGOs, who feared this was part of a purge prompted by the prospective NGO law.
But Voice personnel told 7Days the official reason they had been ordered to leave was because they were not registered.
The Washington-based NGO recently opened the Senhoa Nail Spa Centre in Siem Reap to provide alternative employment for young woman who might otherwise enter the sex trade. The NGO was very active in the Viet-expat arena locally and certainly probed some delicate issues.