Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Film treaty paves way



Film treaty paves way

Actress Thon Thanet, director Rithy Panh, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeung Sakona and Sopheap Chea
From left: actress Thon Thanet, director Rithy Panh, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeung Sakona and Sopheap Chea, archives project coordinator at the Bophana Centre, at Saturday’s ceremony. Vann Channarong

Film treaty paves way

Cambodia's film industry is expected to play a greater role on the global stage after a treaty was signed with France on Thursday making it easier for the country to be named a co-production partner in international films.

The agreement will allow Cambodian investors to become a major stakeholder in international films to which they contribute a minimum of 10 per cent of the funding, according to Phoeung Sakona, minister of culture and fine arts.

Speaking at the opening of the fourth Cambodia International Film Festival (CIFF) at Legend Cinema on Saturday evening, Sakona said the agreement could have important consequences for a new adaptation of Francois Bizot’s Khmer Rouge memoir The Gate. French filmmaker Régis Wargnier (Indochine) will direct the movie, which is set to begin filming in January. French-Cambodian director Rithy Panh is also involved in the production.

Cedric Eloy, CEO at the Cambodia Film Commission, which co-organised the festival with the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre, praised the move, saying the treaty gives Cambodia input in the content, artistic side and technical sides of films.

“It will give hope to filmmakers here not to make projects that are based only on this small market but to have projects that are universal and can be interesting to other countries.”

He added that the treaty will allow Cambodia to co-operate in heritage protection, training, exchanges and film festivals.

France has already signed a similar co-production agreement with other Asian countries such as India, China, Japan and South Korea.

The announcement came as this year’s CIFF launched in a ceremony featuring traditional Cambodian dance and the screening of two Cambodian short films.

At the event, the festival awarded recognition to director Rithy Panh and actor Thon Thanet, for director of the year and actress of the year, respectively.

Panh’s critically acclaimed film The Missing Picture has been shortlisted for an Academy Award and was awarded a prize at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, but this was the director’s first Cambodian award.

He said: “It’s very important for me to be recognised by my own country.”

This year’s edition of CIFF, organised by the Cambodia Film Commission and the Bophana Centre, features more than 80 screenings across five Phnom Penh venues over five days this week.

As well as screening recent celebrated Cambodian films such as The Missing Picture, A River Changes Course and Where I Go, it will also premiere Hok Visal’s new feature film Gems on the Run. Other highlights include Indonesian and Indian films.

Eloy said: “I think the festival and the film industry are getting better every year.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Third Makro outlet planned for capital’s Chroy Changvar

    Makro (Cambodia) Co Ltd is set to invest $12.7 million in its third Cambodian outlet, this time in northeast Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, an area dotted with high-end residential developments, as shopping behaviours continue to evolve in tandem with economic growth. The Cambodian Investment