At least two Cambodian television cable companies have illegally aired the recently released “Child of the Giant Snake,” according to Fay Sam Ang, general director of Cambodia’s Films Production and the movie’s director.
“I nearly fainted when our staff in Siem Reap told me that the film was shown on television. We haven’t even shown it on TV3, our station,” said Fay Sam Ang, program manager at the station.
The film was also aired on cable television in Sihanoukville, he said.
After the film was shown on cable in Siem Reap, Fay Sam Ang said, he informed Bun Rany, wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen. “She intervened and the station stopped,” he said.
The Siem Reap cable operator said he is not responsible for the illegal airing of the movie. “Our cable television in Siem Reap got the broadcast from UBC in Thailand,” said Lay Sok Hok, chairman and owner of SD Sunday Video Production. “The film was dubbed in Thai.”
Fay Sam Ang said he plans to file a complaint against the cable company. Last month, Thai police seized thousands of pirated copies of the Khmer-language movie dubbed in Thai. But that didn’t prevent the CDs from reaching Cambodia.
“They were brought in by visitors returning from Thailand and re-copied in Phnom Penh,” said an Olympic market vendor. Copies sell for $3 and, he said, “if you want a thousand, I can find them for you.”
Fay Sam Ang said the copies were made by thieves stealing movie rights. He said people who buy the CDs become thieves by association.
“The problem of piracy is everywhere in the world,” said Som Sokun, department director for arts, cinema and culture dissemination at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. Som Sokun said he will investigate the pirating of the film when he receives an official complaint.
That could be soon. “This is giving me a headache,” Fay Sam Ang said. He already has filed a complaint through the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok against the Thai distributor who acquired rights to the movie in that country. Fay Sam Ang said he expects to settle out of court with the Thai company.
Released in January, “Child of the Giant Snake” is supposed to be screened only at the TV3 television station, the French Cultural Center and the Russian Cultural Center in Phnom Penh.