Cambodian Documentary Wins Sundance Award

The 2012 documentary “A River Changes Course” by Cam­bo­dian-American director Kalya­nee Mam was awarded the World Cin­ema Grand Jury Prize for documentaries at the Sun­dance Film Festival in the U.S. on Saturday.

Director Kalyanee Mam receives an award for her documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. (Scott Klepper)
Director Kalyanee Mam receives an award for her documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. (Scott Klepper)

In the festival’s award announcement posted online on Saturday, the film is described as a “devastatingly beautiful story of a country reeling from the tragedies of war and rushing to keep pace with a rapidly expanding world.”

“I was really shocked, actually, when the film received the Jury Prize for documentary,” Ms. Mam said by telephone from her home in Sonoma, Northern California.

“The film is…not overly political: It’s not about the issues but about the families,” she said, ex­plaining that she had not expected the film to capture jury members due to its slow pace.

The 83-minute film follows the lives of rural Cambodians, and shows how little hope they have of ever being guaranteed a roof over their heads and food for the next day.

It was produced by the Docu­mentation Center of Cambodia and premiered in Phnom Penh in October.

Held in Park City, Utah, the Sundance Film Festival is organized by the Sundance Institute, which was founded by American actor Ro­bert Redford in 1981 to support film production outside the confines of Hollywood and other commercial film studios.

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