The local entertainment industry is hoping the nationalistic wave that swept Thai movies out of theaters will buoy a Cambodian television series to begin next month.
“We want to help the Cambodian movie sector survive,” said Kham Poun Keomony, director of TV3, which will air the series.
The series “Pich Nel Downhill Love,” is scheduled to begin March 3 and will be shown in 20 45-minute episodes, produced at the price of $1,300 each, said Sak Sithorng, head of Independent Video Productions.
“Before the anti-Thai riots, I contacted many television stations to try and show a movie, but they refused every time,” Sak Sithorng said.
Before the riots, TV3’s programming was laden with Thai movies. But after the violent demonstrations of Jan 29, 2003, that station and others began promoting homegrown productions.
CTN is also planning to feature Cambodian productions. French Cambodia International director Korm Chanthy already has produced a movie shown on CTN and is in the midst of making another.
But he said the test for Cambodian movies will come when Thai movies resume broadcast on local television.
After the riots, the government temporarily banned Thai movies from showing on television or in theaters. The ban has since been lifted.
“I cannot assume what will happen when Thai movies returns. I have to wait and see,” Korm Chanthy said.
A Thai Embassy official said she lamented the bitterness that led to Thai movies’ decline here.
“There is no prohibition to show Thai movies. I think the stations’ directors don’t show Thai movies because they are afraid of sensitive reactions,” said Nantinee Niyaso of the Thai Embassy.
One Ministry of Culture official, however, said copyright law will prevent Thai films from dominating local television again.
“The stations used to just take the Thai movie, do the translation and show it, but right now there is the intellectual property law,” said Som Sokun, director of the ministry’s Cinema and Cultural Diffusion Department.