The Royal University of Phnom Penh celebrated the 15th anniversary of its Department of Media and Communications (DMC) this week with the premiere of eight documentaries by its journalism students.
The students were asked to produce films focused on social and political issues in Cambodia that receive scant attention. Topics included the daily lives of Khmer Rouge survivors, cultural heritage, technology and education.
Sar Pisey, 21, worked with two other students on The Lost Buffalo, which focuses on indigenous education in Ratanakkiri province. Many young students hope to continue their studies in Phnom Penh, she says. But for the film, they spoke with everyone in the community.
“We went to the indigenous community, and we talked to the old generation to get their perspective on the issue of education,” Pisey explains.
Another film, The Hoarding Man, profiles the artist Moeun Chhay, who painted movie posters in the ’60s and ’70s.
This is the second year the DMC has given its students the opportunity to produce their own films. The project was supported by German development agency GIZ and by ZFD, the Civil Peace Service.
The documentaries will be screened in theatres, in communities, on television and via social media. Though each one is only 10 minutes long, Pisey says she hopes that the films will help to find solutions to the questions they pose.
“We want our documentaries to encourage people to look at each issue, and contribute to a better solution,” she says.
“We hope to see the related ministries … help to promote [the films], improve the problems and put forth better solutions.”