It must be really difficult and complicated to do a career with no support from family as well as doing an irrelevant major at university.
Phicheth Rithea, a 22-year-old originally from Battambang province, is a year-five student major in medicine at the University of Health Sciences as well as a film director for the movie Boyfriend. He directs the film on weekends.
Despite the fact that he has piles of medical lessons to review, he sacrifices his weekend to fulfill his passion for producing films with this new project from the 4Ks – Kon Khmer Koun Khmer.
“Arts are my interest. I love art,” Phicheth Rithea stressed.
To pursue a passion that he rejected since he was young, for the past year he never let anyone in his family or close friends find out he was involved in the film sector. After he finished high school he chose to study medicine at the University of Health Sciences.
“I do not know what will happen if they find out, but I will not quit filming,” he said.
He said he used to dream of becoming an artist, signer, actor or anything related to the arts, but his parents refused this idea, so he never asked them again because he doesn’t want them to be disappointed in him.
In his fourth year at the University of Health Science he started searching for somewhere to indulge his passion. He searched for a film department where he could show his talent. After being selected as a participant in a one week workshop at the Cambodia Film Commission, or CFC, he worked as first assistant director in a French film called Golden Slumber by Davy Chou, a Cambodian filmmaker from France who was also a supporter of the 4Ks.
Phicheth Rithea explained that the most challenging thing he faces is managing his time, so he sometimes spends his sleeping hours reviewing medical lessons. He has to direct the Boyfriend that is being made on a small budget and with his lack of experience.
“I never made a film before – that is the most difficult thing,” he admitted.
As one of the next generation trying to promote the Khmer film factory, Phicheth Rithea believes that although the film sector in Cambodia today is not so good, having lots of young filmmakers such as the 4Ks will eventually lead Cambodia to a new golden age of cinema, like the country had during the 1960s and 1970s.
“Cambodia will find a new golden era of cinema if we keep trying to do our best,” said Phicheth Rithea.
Questioned about his long term goals, he said without hesitation: “I would like to be a doctor and filmmaker.”