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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Siem Reap set to host 2nd annual CamboFest

Siem Reap set to host 2nd annual CamboFest

Cambodia's first internationally recognised film festival will kick off in December as organisers scramble this month to secure venues

Siem Reap
Preparations are under way for the second annual CamboFest, Cambodia's first internationally recognised film festival, to be held in a very crowded Siem Reap from December 26 to 30.

The X Bar, the original CamboFest 2007 venue, will again be a focal point, decking out its rooftop with a massive screen and a 4,000-lumen projector. This venue will screen "out there" and cutting-edge features, shorts, animation and experimental films.

Another confirmed venue is FCC Angkor, which will screen art flicks, documentaries and worthy social issues material.

There will also be an "online venue", namely CamboTube.com. A complete schedule is expected soon.

The three-day festival will show 50 international films, including independent features, documentaries, shorts, animation and films dealing with social issues.

The Golden Buffalo awards will also be announced at the end of the festival.

This year's festival has also received a boost from overseas coverage, being picked up by the Hollywood Reporter, which wrote, "Director Jason Rosette said the event would be ‘extremely grassroots and lo-fi' because of limited funding. He did not specify the size of the budget, some of which was provided by the US Embassy in the capital, Phnom Penh."

Sorting the venues

Meanwhile, back on the home front, festival founder, producer and director Jason Rosette is canvassing businesses for sponsorship and told the Post, "I am working with my Khmer and barang colleagues in deft grassroots fashion."

The organisers are also still looking for venues and said they will even consider rice fields.

The origins of this small NGO-style festival sprung in part from the globalisation studies curriculum at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Rosette, from the film and television production company  Camerado, has been in Cambodia since 2005. He  did graduate work in development studies to augment his fine arts bachelor's degree  in film and television from New York University.

According to the festival's website, organisers are embroiled in a brouhaha over their policy of legitimately securing performance rights.

On the website, organisers say, "CamboFest is also a notorious stickler for securing performance permissions to the movies we screen. We take intellectual property rights seriously, and our hope is that the public performance standards already observed by neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand will be encouraged in Cambodia ... with ultimate benefit to the Cambodian media sector and Cambodian movie industry".

Organisers claim they have "been receiving some flack and interference from folks locally" over their strict policy of gaining public performance rights.

They say they have been informed that this is a "trivial nonissue  that ... only applies in the West or in developed countries".

But, having taken such a stance, organisers admit that last year they were caught out by inadvertently failing to secure music rights for the work of Cambodian musician Ros Sereysothea.

The music was part of the soundtrack for Greg Cahill's biopic, The Golden Voice, which won a CamboFest Golden Buffalo award for best short film at the festival.

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