Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Crowd asked to chip in for film



Crowd asked to chip in for film

Crowd asked to chip in for film

This week saw the launch of a crowd-funding campaign to finance filming and post production on the first documentary ever made about Vann Molyvann’s life and legacy. The Man Who Built Cambodia, by filmmakers Christopher Rompré and Haig Balian of Little Big Film, will be a half-hour film that the duo hopes to unspool at the Chaktomuk Theatre – one of Molyvann’s most iconic creations.

Unlike the majority of appeals for crowd funding, this is not a pipe dream waiting around for the money to make it happen. Rompré and Balian have already completed much of the filming – including several interviews with Vann Molyvann himself – thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Asia Foundation.

In November last year, they released the trailer for what they thought at the time was an almost completed documentary. It was the response to the short preview that changed things. “We started seeing how interested people were,” Rompré explains. Local cultural figures reached out to express their support, and the subject piqued the interest of a wider audience as well: the trailer already has over 10,000 hits online, which Rompré describes as “quite good” for a Cambodia-centric film. On the back of this unexpected reaction, the duo decided to dig deeper.

“We decided we wanted to go back and interview Vann Molyvann a few more times,” Rompré says, adding that because of the architect’s advanced age, he felt that time was of the essence: “His ability to tell these stories is diminishing over time.”

The new footage sees the architect reflecting on the current state of urban planning in the Kingdom.

The duo has opted for an all or nothing funding model on Indiegogo to raise the $15,000 they need, meaning that if they fall a dollar short they’ll get nothing. “It pushes those who are thinking about supporting to get behind us, rather than just a ‘pass the hat around’ kind of mentality,” Rompré explains.

And now that they’ve committed to further filming, hiring a professional colourist and commissioning a score for the film, Rompré thinks that making it for less than $15,000 isn’t really an option anyway. “It does sometimes feel like we got a tiger by the tail,” he says of the project’s escalation. “We started off so innocently.”

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • SOPs steer ‘new normal’ tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism has introduced a set of minimum standard operating procedures (SOP) for four major classes of tourism businesses, which is geared towards the “new normal” of the industry. These SOPs are tailored to support businesses in their daily activities and enable them

  • Sleepless in sin city – Will half-sized, outlawed online gambling sector persist below the surface in Cambodia?

    Chinese authorities are coming down hard on online gambling. Similar events are starting to happen in Cambodia, raising questions as to how all of this will end It is 1:30pm, Sotheary (not her real name) is sitting on the wooden floor of her house, facing

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision