Local Aspiring Moviemakers On Set for Film Workshops

Twenty-year-old Voum Borem waded through the crowd at Phnom Penh’s Canadia Tower with his digital camera and a backpack.  “I want to become a filmmaker,” he said.

Mr. Borem joined about 700 other participants Saturday for the country’s first “Film Camp Cam­bodia,” which was organized to teach aspiring cinematographers the basics of acting, animation and photography.

The daylong event included more than a dozen speakers and about 40 half-hour to one-hour sessions on a variety of film-related subjects, including action filmmaking, lighting techniques and computer video editing.

Mr. Borem, who had just finished a workshop on how to make a movie on a small budget, said that he and around 15 other young students had learned how to film action shots on a $100 high-definition camera.

“It was great,” Mr. Borem said about the class. “I learned how to shoot and how to do it cheaply.”

Independent film producer, KM Lo, 50, who taught the “mi­cro-budget filmmaking” session, said that the workshop provided an opportunity to pass along what he has learned to the younger generation.

“My goal is to inspire young people to have fun and show them that you don’t need a fancy camera and a lot of money,” he said. Mr. Lo, a native of China, said he produced the action movie “Moto Thief” on a budget of $500.

The workshop was organized by a group of budding filmmakers known as Kon Khmer, Koun Khmer (4K)—or Cambodian Films, Cambodian Generations.

“This is a first-time experiment, but it’s already a big success,” said Prum Seila, 24, one of the members of 4K.

“It’s been very inspiring to the young people,” he said, adding that the group hopes to organize a similar event next year.

Of the 700 participants, more than half appeared to be young Cam­bodians, dressed in T-shirts and jeans, and touting digital cameras on their shoulders and around their necks.

“I want to learn how to create film and learn more about photography,” said Kong Sokharo, 22, who carried a digital SLR camera.

Twenty-six-year-old Sotheavy Nou, a local entrepreneur who is in­terested in documentary films, said she attended the camp to make contacts.

“I wanted to meet people and network with young filmmakers,” she said.

During the event, 4K an­nounced the winners of a five-minute cinematography contest that the group created for Cam­bodian filmmakers under the age of 30. The three categories—best short film (“The Empty”), best screenwriting (“Bike”) and best audience (“Just a Love”)—won a $500 cash prize each, provided by the Ministry of Information.

As for Mr. Borem, who helped produce the winning short-film “Bike,” he said the camp was a step­pingstone in his career.

“First, I want start off as a filmmaker in Cambodia, and then I want to go to Thailand,” he said.


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