Rithy Panh’s Exile to headline Cambodia's international film fest

A still from Rithy Panh’s Exile, which will make its local debut at the Cambodia International Film Festival. Photo supplied
A still from Rithy Panh’s Exile, which will make its local debut at the Cambodia International Film Festival. Photo supplied

Rithy Panh’s Exile to headline Cambodia's international film fest

The organizers of the Cambodia International Film Festival have unveiled the preliminary schedule for the seventh edition of the event, to be held from March 4-9 in venues around the capital. Organisers expect the festival to match and possibly surpass in size last year’s event, which featured 140 films. Among the highlights of confirmed feature-length movies will be the local premiere of Exile by Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh, which debuted last year at the Cannes Festival.

Another Cannes selection, Davy Chou’s Diamond Island, will be showcased. Rounding out the Cambodian selections will be Jimmy Henderson’s Jailbreak, a Khmer action-comedy currently in theatres, Sok Visal’s Poppy Goes to Hollywood, Huy Valeng’s Vikalcharet and the premiere of Mind Cage by Amit Dubey.

Speaking yesterday at a press conference for the festival, the filmmaker and founder of the KlapYaHandz music label, Sok Visal, praised the event for helping to put the Kingdom on the movie map.

“The quality of the movies [here] is getting better,” he said. “I hope Cambodia will one day be a cultural destination when it comes to film and to art, [and] I think CIFF is one very important element that will help get this international attention.”

As she did last year, Angelina Jolie will also be supporting the festival in the role of patron. Organisers are not yet sure whether or not she will be able to attend in person, but her notoriety helps to increase visibility.

“This festival is still small compared to others but thanks to her support it attracts a lot of attention,” said Kazumi Arai, a development manager at Bophana Center, which along with the Cambodia Film Commission is one of the event organizers.

While the Cambodian selections are the main features, there will also be a diverse range of international films, including a selection of early work by Czech filmmaker Milos Forman, of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest fame, a series of Indian and Lao films and a special series on the genocide in Rwanda. The festival will also feature the premiere of Asian Three-fold Mirror: Reflections, a three-part series by Cambodia’s Sotho Kulikar, Filipino Brillante Mendoza and Isao Yukisada, from Japan.

The festival will be held from March 4-9 at a selection of venues throughout Phnom Penh, including Bophana Center, the French Institute, Legend Cinemas, Major Cineplex and Platinum Cineplex. Once released, the schedule of films and locations will be available at www.cambodia-iff.com.

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