New Group Opens Cambodian Filmmakers’ Door to the Oscars

For the first time ever, Cam­bo­dian filmmakers this year will have an opportunity to compete for the most prestigious award in cinema —the Oscar.

The Cambodia Oscar Selection Com­­mittee (COSC), formed in Oc­to­ber by the US Academy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Scien­ces, announced yes­­terday the local selection process for next year’s 85th annual Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars. Without a local committee, filmmakers cannot submit their movies to be considered for the Best Foreign Language Film award.

“Filmmaking [in Cambodia] is lack­ing in a few areas…but this will inspire people to make movies,” said Mariam Arthur, COSC’s chairman.

During a news conference at Sa­bayCineplex in Sorya Shopping Cen­ter, Ms. Arthur outlined the selection process.

She said submissions to the committee are judged in seven categor­ies: acting, cinematography, direction, music, sound, story and universal theme. But the committee can on­ly submit one film from the country to the Oscars—and it may have al­ready made up its mind.

At the announcement, filmmaker Chhay Bora, 49, submitted his 2011 movie “Lost Loves” for consideration.

“We are unaware of any other mo­vies that could be submitted on time this year that meet the qualifications ex­cept for ‘Lost Loves,’” said Ms. Ar­thur. “The committee has publically acknowledged they like the film.”

The deadline for submissions to COSC is July 15, and the committee will send its final selection to the Aca­demy in early September.

But Ms. Arthur said that even if the committee has only one sub­­mis­sion, the members could ultimately re­ject it and send no films for consideration.

COSC is composed of seven voting members who are Cambodian film actors, directors and editors. Ms. Arthur, a US national, cannot vote.

Among a slew of requirements by the Academy, the movies must be largely Cambodian-directed and produced, and have a theatrical release in the country for at least seven days, with no showings on television or the Internet. Technical requirements al­so limit viewings to SabayCineplex or Legend Cinema, said Ms. Arthur.

“Lost Loves” has been playing at SabayCineplex since January.


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