Angelina Jolie Pitt was in Phnom Penh on Tuesday to begin work on a Khmer-language film based on bestselling Khmer Rouge survival memoir “First They Killed My Father,” which will be co-produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Rithy Panh.
Ms. Jolie Pitt co-wrote the script with the book’s author, Loung Ung, and will direct the movie for online streaming company Netflix, it was announced Friday, the same day that the actress arrived in Cambodia to begin pre-production.
On Tuesday, she visited the Bophana Center in Phnom Penh alongside Mr. Panh, who founded the center to help preserve Cambodia’s audiovisual heritage and whose 2013 cinematic memoir of the Pol Pot era, “The Missing Picture,” was nominated for an Academy Award.
Ms. Jolie Pitt said archivists at the Bophana Center would help ensure that her new film was an authentic interpretation of the book and its setting.
“Their detailed work to restore the archives of the past and work with young people and volunteers to look forward to the future based on a shared purpose is inspiring, and I am honoured to work with Rithy Panh from whom I have so much to learn,” she said, according to a press release.
Ms. Jolie Pitt said her crew would spend the next few months scouting locations and auditioning actors, and that shooting will take place from November to January.
“Every event [will be researched] to make sure it is historically accurate and will pay respect not only to Loung Ung and her family but to every single individual who suffered under the Khmer Rouge,” she said.
Ms. Ung, whose book is an account of living under and escaping the Khmer Rouge between the ages of five and eight, will also come to Cambodia to assist with the production, Ms. Jolie Pitt’s office said.
Netflix is currently unavailable in Cambodia, but “First They Killed My Father” will have a limited cinema release in Cambodia and abroad.
“There will be a Cambodian premiere. Ms Jolie Pitt and family will personally come to the premiere and present the film to Cambodian audiences,” her office said.