In another sign of the domestic film industry’s gradual resurgence, the Canadia Tower will soon host the country’s first Film Camp event.
The small Tonle Bassac-based outfit Kon Khmer Koun Khmer – or Cambodian Films, Cambodian Generations – has been preparing for the introduction of the Film Camp concept in Cambodia after its successful reception in Laos and Singapore.
Participants in the March 24 event will be given a one-day crash course in screenwriting, operating a 16mm camera, sound recording and editing, along with the opportunity to meet and work with other potential aspiring filmmakers. Chan Soratha, a member of 4K and Film Camp Cambodia’s project manager, said the free and multilingual event hoped to attract a diverse set of applicants.
“Film Camp is targeted towards everyone who loves film. So we are open to everyone: they can be high school or university students or from another place in life.”
Chan Soratha said the event was ideal for people showing an interest in film who have no budget or ability to produce something of their own accord. Chan Soratha is hoping that the amount of work 4K have done establishing Film Camp will be met with a strong interest from Phnom Penh’s potential auteurs.
“We started organising Film Camp in October of last year, which meant contact with universities, contact with potential sponsors, and finding people to help with its organisation,” he said.
“It is something new for this country, so just to organise this one-day event, we needed to speak to many different people, to find sponsors, and to organise audience participation. The film industry in Cambodia is not very strong at the moment, so for us, it has been quite challenging to attract the audience and bring people together.”
4K is devoting the next month to appearances at schools and universities to find Film Camp recruits. To tempt participants, the group has organised some impressive guest speakers, including renowned actress Dy Saveth, a star of Khmer cinema’s golden age in the 1960s and ‘70s who has returned to the silver screen in recent years.
Recruiting Dy Saveth was quite the coup, with the actress taking time off her busy schedule between an appearance at the Berlin Film Festival and acting duties. 4K were fortunate to benefit from a long history of collaboration with the star.
“We have been working with her for a long time,” says Chan Soratha of the collaboration. “Since 2008 in fact. We organised an exhibition that collected Cambodian films from the 1960s and ‘70s, which we showcased alongside promotional posters and stars of the films.”
Film Camp will also feature guest lectures from German filmmakers Ingo Hoffmann, who will demonstrate the use of Steadicam equipment, and Peter Ristau, who will instruct participants in the use of editing and production software.
Film Camp Cambodia will take place on Friday, March 24th at the Canadia Tower in Phnom Penh. The event is free but advance registration is required at the Film Camp website: filmcampkh.org.