Festival to Show Eclectic Mix Of Cambodian, Foreign Films

The Cambodia International Film Festival, now in its fourth year, begins Sunday in Phnom Penh and will include feature films, documentaries, animated shorts and appearances by Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh, French director Regis Wargnier and Australian filmmaker James Gerrand.

The six-day festival, organized by the Cambodia Film Commission (CFC) and Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center, will celebrate cinema in Cambodia and promote national and international filmmakers, according to Cedric Eloy, head of the CFC.

One of the main events during the festival will be the Khmer-language premiere on December 10 of Rithy Panh’s “The Missing Picture,” which won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard category at the Cannes film festival in May.

Another Cambodian director, Visal Sok, will premiere his film, “Gems on the Run,” on December 11 and Regis Wargnier, an Oscar-Award winning director, will present his 2005 film “Man to Man” on December 8.

Though scores of national and international films are scheduled to be shown, five of the 15 selected feature films are from Indian filmmakers to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema.

Cambodian film supporters said they expect the festival to continue growing, after about 10,000 people attended last year.

“I just see this festival going bigger and bigger in the coming years,” said Michael Chai from Westec Media Limited, which runs Legends Cinema, one of five venues where the festival films will be shown. Screenings will also take place at the French Institute, Platinum Cineplex, Bophana Center and at an outdoor screen on Koh Pich.

Chansaya Sin, director of the cinema department at the Ministry of Culture, said that regionally, young people have started to show more interest in the cinema sector.

“There will be big changes in our Asian countries [when talking] about cinema,” he said.

All of the festival screenings are free of charge.

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