Despite a government ban, a documentary about Chut Wutty was screened at several locations around Phnom Penh yesterday to mark the fourth anniversary of the environmentalist’s murder – but not without some interference.
The Ministry of Culture last week ordered the managers of the Meta House Café not to show the film on the grounds that the film had not been submitted for approval.
However, in the city’s Sen Sok district yesterday, Solidarity House, home to a group of NGOs, hosted a Khmer-language screening attended by director Fran Lambrick and Cheuy Oddom Reaksmey, Chut Wutty’s son.
The event had been advertised on the film’s official Facebook page.
District authorities had visited earlier in the day to enquire about the screening of I Am Chut Wutty, according to Sor Mory, president of the Cambodia Youth Network, which helped to organise the event.
Thirty minutes into the film, the police returned. Sak Chan Kannarith, the deputy district chief, demanded an end to the film, citing a lack of permission, but Mory negotiated to allow the film to finish.
Mory said he had been summoned to the police station today because he had not obtained permission from the local authorities nor the Ministry of Culture to screen the film. But he maintained the event was legal.
“They had no right to shut us down – this is a private place.”
The film was also screened yesterday by the Flicks movie house at an undisclosed location and the NGO CCHR at its offices for staff only and made available online to watch free.
Lambrick said the ministry’s ban had only furthered the film’s message. “I think it’s made it more powerful,” she said. “So many people have seen it because of the ban.”