The Cambodia International Film Festival got a significant boost this week with the announcement that Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie Pitt had taken on the role of president of the festival’s newly created Honorary Committee.
However, Jolie Pitt is determined that her role with the festival – which kicks off with an opening ceremony on Friday - will be more than just “honorary”.
“I’m proud to be part of an event that will share Cambodian art and filmmaking with the world,” the filmmaker and actor, who is currently shooting an adaptation of the Khmer Rouge memoir First They Killed My Father in Siem Reap and Battambang, told Post Weekend in an email.
“I’m really looking forward to participating in the festival, and meeting artists whose work I so admire. I am having a wonderful experience working with talented Cambodian artists like Rithy Panh, who is producing the film with me.
“Cambodia is a great home for art and creativity, with a rich culture and promising future, and I think that is what everyone will see at this year’s festival”
The 6th CIFF – co-organised by the CFC and Bophana Center – will be a smorgasbord of film. More than 130 features, documentaries and shorts from 34 countries will be screened at eight venues during the seven-day event.
There will be a clutch of premieres from Cambodian filmmakers; award presentations; Southeast Asian, Japanese, Malaysian and French showcases; programs of animations and documentaries and much more.
This week’s announcement provided a huge lift to the event’s profile with news outlets worldwide, including the New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and even the Times of India, picking up the story from wire service AP.
Cambodia Film Commission commissioner So Chandara said it was great news all round.
“It’s fantastic for the festival, for Cambodian filmmakers and the reawakening industry,” Chandara said.
Chea Sopheap, the Bophana Center’s deputy director, said it was a “great joy and honour for all Cambodians” to have Jolie Pitt lending her name to the event.
“Especially for the Cambodian organising team [who are] working hard to create a world class event in Cambodia with limited resources,” Sopheap said.
He said Jolie Pitt’s involvement would help to bring attention toward the rebirth of the Cambodian film industry.
“In the last few years, CIFF has witnessed constant progress, with more and more foreign filmmakers interested in Cambodia, a new wave of young filmmakers selected in international festivals and new modern theatres in the country opening every year.
“We hope that her support will bring more attention on the importance of supporting films, film events and film education and improving filmmaking in Cambodia.”
Post Weekend is a media partner of the 6th CIFF and next Saturday will publish a pullout guide including highlights and a full schedule. For more details on the Cambodia International Film Festival, check: cambodia-iff.com.