Cambodian Short Feature Film Selected for Festival in Cannes

Filmmaker Davy Chou’s short feature film “Cambodia 2099” will be among the 11 short films presented during the Directors’ Fortnight film festival in Cannes next month.

The news came as a shock to the 30-year-old director, who shot the 21-minute film in just three days last August. “The selection is extremely harsh since they receive, I believe, between 2,000 and 3,000 films,” Mr. Chou said Tuesday.

Neang Kavich, left, and Kun Sotha star in the short feature film 'Cambodia 2099,' which will be shown in Cannes next month. (Vycky Films/Davy Chou)
Neang Kavich, left, and Kun Sotha star in the short feature film ‘Cambodia 2099,’ which will be shown in Cannes next month. (Vycky Films/Davy Chou)

Organized by the French Directors Guild, the festival tends to favor eclectic films from new directors with very personal styles—those that will attract the general public without being driven by commercial considerations. It will be held May 15 through 25, concurrent with the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Mr. Chou’s film, whose screening is scheduled for May 22, is about two friends who start talking about the dreams they had the night before. One had a nightmare, the other dreamed of Cambodia towards the end of the 21th century.

Shot on location at Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich, the short was a last-minute project produced on a shoestring budget with the help of numerous friends and colleagues, said Mr. Chou, who was born in France, but whose roots are Cambodian.

Since releasing his 2011 documentary on Cambodia’s cinema of the 1960s, “Golden Slumbers,” Mr. Chou had been working in France on a feature-film script about today’s young Cambodians. But when he and Thomas Favel, his French director of photography, met in Phnom Penh last July, the script was yet to be completed. So Mr. Chou decided to shoot a short feature, writing the script in one week.

The three characters are played by visual artist Kun Sotha, filmmaker Neang Kavich and Vann Sothea, who works in business communications and played the role of one of the character’s girlfriend.

“Cambodia 2099” was produced by Vycky Films in Paris. Shot in Khmer, it will be shown at Cannes with both French and English subtitles. Other shorts to be presented at the festival include films from Canada, Brazil, Switzerland and Portugal.

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