Some of Cambodia’s best-known film professionals gathered late Monday afternoon at the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center to celebrate Cambodia’s cinematographic heritage and future.
The event honored Cambodian film with a lecture given by film director and Information Ministry Secretary of State Mao Ayuth, and large-screen projections of three documentaries on Cambodian cinema.
Other figures instrumental in the preservation of Cambodia’s audiovisual history spoke at the event, which was held to commemorate Unesco’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, which began Oct 27, 1980, to recognize and preserve moving images worldwide.
“Today is an opportunity to raise public awareness of Cambodian images for public viewing and also preserving them to make them accessible to whoever is interested,” said Teruo Jinnai, Unesco’s Cambodia country representative.
The Bophana Center is dedicated to doing just that.
Since 2006, the center has collected more than 200 movie titles, according to Sin Chan Saya, director of the Culture Ministry’s cinema department, who said Monday that 30 percent of those titles were not salvageable because they had not been adequately preserved.
The public can access the archives, which have been saved in digital format on a database at the center, said Chan Lida, a research analyst at the center. The archives, which are available in Khmer, English and French, include films, documentaries, television and radio broadcasts, photographs and sound recordings.
Speakers at the event also called the center a place where filmmakers and producers, as well as students of film, can meet to learn and discuss the trade.
“I think that all film people interested in producing films and movies are better to meet [at the Bophana Center] every weekend or once in every [few] weeks,” Mao Ayuth said Monday.
The Ministry of Culture wants to preserve more existing documentaries, according to Sin Chan Saya.
“[The] Ministry of Culture, especially the department of cinema, is trying hard to support film and movies in Cambodia,” he said.