First-time director Tiara Delgado said she hopes her film “Fragile Hopes from the Killing Fields” will encourage discussion about the Khmer Rouge regime —a topic she said is learned largely through oral histories and is not well covered in schools.
“I’m hoping to get [the film] shown in schools here because they don’t cover the topic,” she said. “They teach about the Nazi genocide but not about the Khmer Rouge.”
Delgado, a film student in New York, discussed her documentary at its public premiere Wednesday evening.
There was standing room only at Popzone’s screening room on Street 178 as she introduced her 30-minute film.
Delgado said her inspiration, and the film’s focus, was how knowledge of the Khmer Rouge regime has been passed on to younger Cambodians largely through storytelling by their families.
The film tries to address how this means of communication has affected younger generations’ understanding of the regime.
The body of the film consists of interviews with Cambodians from across the country, as well as one family that has been living in the US state of California for nearly 20 years.
Among those interviewed are Ser Sayana, a student who translated the recently published Khmer language version of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and Vann Nath, an artist and the sole living survivor of the infamous Tuol Sleng detention center.
Originally from California, Delgado said she became acquainted with Cambodia through a school friend whose family fled Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime.
Delgado directed, produced, co-wrote and personally funded the project, which took two years and four trips to Cambodia from the US to complete.
Although the documentary has not yet been picked up by a distributor, Delgado says she hopes to show it at film festivals and possibly distribute it to schools in the US and Cambodia.