Ten short films produced by Cambodian high school students have been selected to compete in the Asia International Children’s Film and Video Festival in Japan this December.
The Japanese Embassy announced the 10 winners on Friday night at an awards ceremony attended by officials from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
Inside the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Centre, judges watched 23 three-minute films directed by students from high schools in Phnom Penh and Kandal province, before selecting 10 they felt best represented this year’s theme, “To Study or Education”.
Counsellor of the Embassy of Japan, Machida Tatsuya, praised the high quality of the films produced by Cambodian entrants, and said they provided a fresh perspective on the contest’s theme.
“Education systems differ from one country to another. I was interested in how Cambodian students described the manner of education in their country in their films, and how their education differs from education in other countries. I really hope this program will give Cambodian students a chance to understand more about Japan and Japanese people. By participating they will also learn about students in other Asian countries.”
The final stage of the competition will take place in Minamiawaji city in Japan on December 3, with the ten Cambodian entrants competing against students from other Asian countries, including Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia as well as Japan.
According to Tatsuya, the Asia International Children’s Film and Video Festival first started in Japan in 2007, as an initiative to increase mutual understanding among youth in the East Asian region.
Cambodia students first joined the program in 2009, and the quality of their entries has been improving steadily since then said In The, undersecretary of state at Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
“All films that were in the competition this year are on the right topic, and we scored them according to their message, technical skill, and actor performances. This event helps teach students about the importance of education, to produce a film. These students had to think hard about what message they wanted to send about education before they started making it.”
Among the winners was 17 year old Wat Koh high school student Keo Chan Udom, who produced a film about a father who pedals a cyclo every day to raise money to send his son to school in Phnom Penh.
Keo told the Post, he spent one month shooting and editing his film, before subtitling it in English and entering it into the competition.
“I wanted to show how parents try hard to earn money to support their children to study. Through my film, I want all parents to try their hard to send their children to school,” he said.
Keo Chan’s film received the highest score awarded by the judges, something the young director said he never expected.
“I didn’t expect that I would have a chance to go to Japan. I’m so happy now. I feel 70 per cent sure that my film will win the final competition in Japan. The special thing about my film is that it shows cyclos which don’t exist in other countries. At the same time, it shows the real life of Cambodian people.”