The recent controversy surrounding a Thai company’s proposal to make a film about the ancient Khmer ruler Jayavarman VII has prompted two separate Cambodian groups to instigate their own works about the famed Angkorian king.
Jayavarman VII ruled Angkor at its height during the late 11th and early 12th centuries. He is credited with building Ta Prohm temple, as well as the town of Angkor Thom around the Bayon temple.
In late December, a Thai company pulled the plug on a proposed film project about the king after it had elicited some strong reactions from Cambodians who questioned the motives of the Thai enterprise.
Moeung Sonn said the Commission for Khmer Civilization, for which he is on the board of directors, has joined up with the Khmer Actress Association to conceive of a stage presentation of Jayavarman VII that they would also film.
However, another project on the same subject by the Khmer Authors’ Association is also in the pipeline, Moeung Sonn said.
Kong Kantara, Culture Ministry cinema and culture diffusion department director, said he already accepted the proposal by Sim Vanna, president of the Khmer Authors’ Association, early last week to begin work on their film about Jayavarman VII, and he couldn’t give permission to two groups to shoot the same sort of film.
“I have accepted [the Khmer Authors’ Association] request,” he said.
Kong Kantara said that Sim Vanna’s film would cost between $5 and $10 million.
Moeung Sonn said that if the Khmer Authors’ Association has enough money to make their film, he would happily defer to them and withdraw his project proposal.
He added, however, that a stage production was much more financially feasible than a film.
“I hope we will get support from the government…. We want to show the real history,” Moeung Sonn said.
Sim Vanna could not be reached for comment Wednesday.