Bright Idea: Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre

Bright Idea: Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre

As a documentary filmmaker in the 1990s, Rithy Panh realised the utter lack of audiovisual resources in Cambodia and decided to start an organisation to collect as much of the Kingdom’s audiovisual heritage as possible.

Rithy Panh’s dream of gathering the resources convinced Ieu Pannakar, who was the head of the Department of Cinema within the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts at that time, to jump on board. The two men established the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center in December 2006 with the support of the Ministry of Culture and many other institutions.

“Bophana was the name of a young woman detained in S-21 during the Pol Pot Regime,” said Chum Noi, public relations officer for Bophana.
“The centre was given the name Bophana to bear witness to the dignity and courage of this woman.”

Aiming to preserve and present the remaining pictures, movies and songs from the last 150 years of Cambodia’s history, Bophana has around 30 staff members who have helped collect and protect more than 2,000 documents produced by Cambodians and foreigners.

The centre improves the quality of the documents, digitizes them and adds them to its expansive computer database, which is growing bigger by the week.

The overriding purpose of the collection is to provide free access to Cambodians and foreigners who wish to explore the audiovisual memory of Cambodia and learn more about the country’s past glory and terror.

“All the documents can be viewed freely in three main languages: Khmer, English and French. Therefore, people can search for their desired document easily,” said Sim Sok Thida, a research analyst at the Center.

“Bophana has been working collaboratively with other audiovisual archive centers in America, Europe and Asia to gather the remaining Cambodian documents from those countries and get authorization from the owners to present and provide people access to those files,” said Gaetan Crespel, the archive manager at Bophana Center.

He added that the center has also been cooperating with the Cambodian Film Commission in training Cambodian people in film and audio-related technical work to ensure that they are capable of taking care of documents, as well as improving their own ability to produce photos, film and audio files that will ensure that people do not forget what is happening today.

“I often visit the center when I am free from my studies since I can find so many important documents that aren’t available anywhere else,” said Nem Lorn, a student from Human Resource University.

“I can gain priceless knowledge, especially in art, civilization and history. I hope more Cambodian youth spend time here to explore their past.

“I am sure that the center is going to be here for the next 10 or 20 years to serve the public,” said Crespel.

“We still have many more archives that haven’t been digitized and shown to the public yet.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Former chief bodyguard receives royal pardon

    The former chief bodyguard of late Senate president Chea Sim has received a royal pardon nearly eight years after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on several charges, according to a royal decree dated November 12, last year, and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • US warned not to interfere despite successful meeting

    A senior Ministry of National Defence official said the Tuesday meeting between the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Joseph H Felter and General Neang Phat had helped strengthen relations between the two countries’ militaries. However, a senior Cambodian People’