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MY PHNOM PENH: Nimol Bunchan, Director

Nimol Bunchan is a young television and film director who grew up in Siem Reap and moved to Phnom Penh when she was 17 years old.
Nimol Bunchan is a young television and film director who grew up in Siem Reap and moved to Phnom Penh when she was 17 years old.

MY PHNOM PENH: Nimol Bunchan, Director

Nimol Bunchan Director Nimol Bunchan is a young television and film director who grew up in Siem Reap and moved to Phnom Penh when she was 17 years old. Bunchan is currently producing a 50-episode series set to premiere on Bayon TV early next year. This week, she spoke with Vandy Muong about the places in the capital that have shaped her writing and career.

Khmer Writers’ Association at Wat Botum

Khmer Writers’ Association at Wat Botum

I was interested in the arts and always imagined becoming a film director. When I first arrived in Phnom Penh [in 2007], I heard that there was a place to learn writing. I took a three-month short course at the Khmer Writers’ Association with 30 students. I stayed there because I didn’t have a home in Phnom Penh. While I was there, I learned how to write news, poetry and novels. I became a news reporter for print media. In my generation, students came from different backgrounds and worked in different jobs compared to now.

La Reine magazine

La Reine magazine

My different professional experiences have shaped who I’ve become. In 2010, I became an editor-in-chief at La Reine magazine; the owner was interested in my writing skills. At that time, La Reine was just a catalogue. But when I was there, it changed to become a lifestyle magazine like it is today. I tried to update the content to fashion and lifestyle to reach [bigger] audiences. Later, I moved on to a private media agency. At that time, I became an assistant director for a programme that [aired] on TV5. I had a long step from one career to another.

Hang Meas Production

Hang Meas Production

My career has had many different paths. For example, I was a songwriter and acting director for two years at Hang Meas Production. I wrote songs for different singers: Pich Sophea, Souk Sokunkanha and Chhon Sovannareach. After I left Hang Meas, I went to Sunday Production for three years in a similar position. There, I wrote songs for Chhay Virakyuth, Sok Pisey, Khat Jame and Keo Vesna. I got of experience working there – although it was different – and I’m always looking for a chance to find something new for my projects.

Sastra Film

Sastra Film

I decided to open my own company, Sastra Film, in 2015. I never expected to have my own company. After I produced an educational short film that was promoted on social media, we got a lot of supporters and decided to produce more educational programs. So I created a team. This year, we have produced 50 episodes of the [romantic] drama Cold Tear, which will screen on Bayon TV. In the future, we want to make entertainment. I always remind myself that if you have a dream, follow your dream. If you have a plan, you’ll never repeat an action.

Major Cineplex at Aeon Mall

Major CinePLEX at Aeon Mall

Although I don’t have much time to relax, I never forget to rest for short periods. Of course, I go to the cinema for the movies – it’s a different environment, and watching a movie can give me more knowledge. Since I am a writer and director, I can learn from other people. If I finish filming before 6pm, I go straight to the cinema at Aeon or at TK Avenue Mall. I go twice a month. I don’t like horror films. However, I do like comedies, because they help me relax by laughing. I personally like to make romantic films because of my own personality: I’m interested in romantic concepts.

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