Local Film Festival Set to Showcase Global Talent

Independent cinema from around the world will be showcased during the Phnom Penh International Film Festival, which began Friday and will run through September 21.

Hosted by Phnom Penh’s three Flicks Community Movie Houses, the festival will present 70 feature films, documentaries and shorts from filmmakers the world over.

Still images from films being shown at the festival. Clockwise from top right: 'Reflection of a Maya Rose,' 'Way in Rye,' 'Little Darling,' and 'Black Night'  (Phnom Penh International Film Festival)
Still images from films being shown at the festival. Clockwise from top right: ‘Reflection of a Maya Rose,’ ‘Way in Rye,’ ‘Little Darling,’ and ‘Black Night’ (Phnom Penh International Film Festival)

“I call it independent filmmaking…with no giant studio behind it, no financers behind it, and maybe a few that were made for $200,” said Ramon Stoppelenburg, the festival’s programming director and the Flicks owner.

“Some of the films are experimental, some are mindboggling good, and some just have to be seen.”

Feature films include “Sayang Disayang,” or “My Beloved Dearest” from Singaporean film director Sanif Olek; “Sodium Party” from Irish director Michael McCudden; and the Indian

feature film “Naseman (The Snuggle)” from Sounak Mukhopadhyay.

Among the documentaries, there will be “Ainu, Pathway to Memory” from Spanish director Marcos Centeno, and among the shorts, “Caroline of Virginia” from American director Eric Norcross.

The festival opened with Alexander Liebert’s documentary “Scars of Cambodia” on Friday night and will close with American Alexandra Wedening’s feature “Reflection of Maya Rose,” which has been accumulating awards in Europe, Canada and the U.S. this year.

A total of 300 films were submitted for the festival, and it took the selection committee of about 20 people one month to run through them, Mr. Stoppelenburg said.

“I think some of them got traumatized, ironically, because they had to go through so many films. If 70 films were selected, it means that 230 films were basically not up to par…. But committee members had to see them all.”

The festival’s full program is posted on the Internet.

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