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Kingdom’s filmmakers given chance to shine in UK gov’t film competition

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The Cambodian film Short Hair Woman, which tackled the topic of forced marriage during the Khmer Rouge era, also won an award at the second Cambodia National Short Film Festival last year. Photo supplied

Kingdom’s filmmakers given chance to shine in UK gov’t film competition

Cambodian filmmakers have the chance to showcase their educational films as part of the first Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) film competition.

The UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), with the support of the Royal Television Society, has launched the competition for filmmakers from all countries around the globe.

Founded in 2012 by former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, along with Angelina Jolie, actress and UN Special Envoy of the High Commissioner for Refugees, PSVI aims to raise public consciousness of sexual violence against women, men, girls and boys in situations of armed conflict, and rally global action to end it.

“The term ‘conflict-related sexual violence’, refers to rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilisation, forced marriage, and any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity perpetrated against women, men, girls or boys that is directly or indirectly linked to a conflict,” according to the 2019 report of the UN Secretary-General on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.

Tariq Ahmad, the UK Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, said in a statement at the competition’s launch: “Today, rape and other forms of sexual violence continue to be used as weapons of war in conflicts around the world. These crimes range from opportunistic acts of brutality to deliberate torture and systematic campaigns of ethnic cleansing.”

Candidates can submit films about any theme related to ending sexual violence in conflict, with stories allowed to be fiction or based on real experiences.

Darathtey Din, Political and Public Diplomacy Officer at the British Embassy in Phnom Penh, told The Post: “PSVI is a global issue. It does not happen in Cambodia alone and the British embassy is working in many places around the world. We want Cambodian producers to have confidence to join this competition, use creative ideas to study the issue through film and bring Cambodia onto the international stage.”

Filmmakers should focus on three main themes: the film should strengthen justice for survivors and victims of sexual violence in conflict and work to end the stigma they suffer; the message should convey the importance of delivering better access to healthcare, psycho-social support and livelihood programmes; and the film should also aim to improve security forces and peacekeeping missions around the world.

“This film competition is an opportunity for filmmakers to contribute in the fight to end sexual violence in conflict by raising awareness, addressing injustice, and empowering survivors,” said Ahmad.

“Film is a powerful tool to shine a spotlight on sexual violence in conflict and help bring about real change.”

The British Embassy in Phnom Penh has announced to Cambodian filmmakers that the deadline to register their films is September 6, with successful candidates having the opportunity to join a workshop in London.

Cambodian filmmaker Svay Limeng, who joined the FCO’s Young Filmmakers Workshop in London last year, said the competition is useful for breaking silence on sexual violence.

Limeng’s film Short Hair Woman, which tackled the topic of forced marriage during the Khmer Rouge era, also won an award at the second Cambodia National Short Film Festival last year.

“Film can help to solve social crises. If this year Cambodian candidates win the competition, it will be really very special for our film industry,” he said.

According to the Royal Television Society’s website, there are three categories: PSVI 60-second film Challenge (films with a maximum duration of 60 seconds), PSVI Shorts (one to 45 minutes) and PSVI Features (45 minutes or longer).

Each category has two awards; category winner and runner-up. There will also be a special award for the best young filmmaker, selected from all filmmakers under the age of 35 across all categories.

The top prize will be an all expenses paid trip to London to attend the Time For Justice: Putting Survivors First conference, where the winning and runner-up films will be screened and promoted across the UK’s global network of embassies.

More information can be found online (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/preventing-sexual-violence-i...).

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