Famed Cambodian Filmmaker Gets Lifetime Achievement Award

Legendary Cambodian director Tea Lim Koun was conferred a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bangkok Asean Film Festival on Friday.

The 78-year-old director, who lives in Canada, received the prize for films, which include “Puos Keng Kang,” or Snake Man. Starring Chea Yuthorn and Dy Saveth, it was a box-office success when first released in the 1970s and remains a classic.

Tea Lim Koun directs an actress on the set of 'Puos Keng Kang' in the early 1970s.
Tea Lim Koun directs an actress on the set of ‘Puos Keng Kang’ in the early 1970s.

“My father could not go to Bangkok to accept the Award,” his daughter Kim Tia said in an email on Thursday. “We made a video clip of my father’s speech to be shown at the event.”

Mr. Lim Koun directed 15 feature films in the 1960 and 1970s. When the Khmer Rouge took over the country in April 1975, he was in Bangkok promoting one of his movies. Unable to return, he moved to Canada and has lived in Montreal since.

“Puos Keng Kang” also earned Mr. Lim Koun the 1973 Best Director award from the Federation of Motion Picture Producers in Asia-Pacific. In 2012, it was shown at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Tokyo International Film Festival.

“I’m so happy that people still remember and recognize the value of this film,” the director said in the email.

Organized by Thailand’s Ministry of Culture, the Bangkok Asean Film Festival is presenting films from directors across the region.

In addition to “Puos Keng Kang,” organizers will also screen “3.50,” a story about human trafficking set in Phnom Penh co-directed by Cambodia’s Chhay Bora and Singaporean filmmaker Eysham Ali.

After delaying its release for two years, Cambodian officials selected “3.50” as the country’s 2013 entry for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

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