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Hollywood dreamin'

Hollywood dreamin'

HENG CHIVOAN

A proposal to seek investors for a national film studio complex would allow Cambodia’s film productions to be shot more professionally on centralized sound stages and backlots.

The Ministry of Culture is seeking investors and a potential site to establish a movie studio complex in Cambodia with the aim of improving the quality of the Kingdom’s film and television industry, the director of the ministry’s cinema department, Kong Kantara, told the Post on June 24.

The studio would give local movie and television productions a centralized location in which to film, rather than forcing them to seek shooting locations elsewhere that typically require complex and expensive arrangements with local officials.

“If they need a particular set, we could give it to them,” Kong Kantara said. “If moviemakers needed to shoot inside the Central Market, we could reproduce that.”

Poan Phuong Bopha, director of television series and films at CTN, said she would welcome a professional film studio in Cambodia, acknowledging the difficulties moviemakers face in traveling to location shoots.

 “Moviemakers here need a proper studio, so we can film faster and at lower cost,” said Poan Pong Bopha. “You know, in the countryside, kids all come around and make noise.”

The studio complex would require a site of 10 to 30 hectares, she said, with view of natural surroundings and the capacity to build an elaborate backlot recreating various historical periods.

She said 90 percent of CTN’s original series and film programs were filmed on location with an extremely low budget. Cambodian television productions cost about $6,000 for a 45-minute episode, compared to about $100,000 for an episode of Korean television.

Prince Sisowath Thomico, a former advisor to retired monarch and erstwhile filmmaker Norodom Sihanouk, said he strongly supported the creation of a national film studio. A studio of international standards would promote the professionalism of the industry and help local productions compete more effectively with other foreign films on world markets, said Thomico.

Each country’s civilization and culture were reflected in the quality of the films they produced, he said.  Even with talented writers and actors, the quality of Cambodian films was poor due to a lack of quality production facilities.

Khmer Artists Association director Ieng Sithul said the association would welcome the establishment of a “proper studio” in Cambodia.

 “I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “Once a proper studio was in place, it would boost the film industry in Cambodia.”

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