‘Snake’ To Be Screened at Shanghai Festival

“Koan Poh Keng Kang,” or “Child of the Giant Snake,” is heading to China as Cambodia’s entry in the fifth annual Shanghai Inter­national Film Festival.

The crowd-pleasing tale of murder, magic, and inter-species adultery will compete against 14 other new films from 12 other countries, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

“This is the first time a Cam­bodian film goes to compete at an international festival,” said Som So­kun, director of the Film De­part­ment at the Ministry of Cult­ure and Fine Arts.

Actually, it’s the first time a Cam­bodian film has competed in the Shanghai International Film Festival, which this year will screen 357 films in various categories to an audience of 300,000.

Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh’s movies, including “Rice People” and “The Land of Wand­ering Souls,” have been screened at international venues, including the prestigious Cannes Film Fest­ival, where “Rice People” won a special award. Fay Sam Ang, producer of “Koan Poh Keng Kang,” said the entry forms have already been sent to Shanghai, although the film festival—originally scheduled for June—has been moved back to July 9 to July 17. Xinhua said the Shang­hai festival is the only one of its kind in China and one of only two “A” cat­e­gory international festivals in Asia. Movies to be shown this year were produced by 250 studios in 40 countries.

Fay Sam Ang is thrilled that the film is competing internationally. Even if it doesn’t win, he said, he will be pleased because for­eign audiences will be seeing a Cam­bodian movie. “I do not think about [winning] first place, be­cause it is our first time,” he said. “But it makes me proud to think that foreigners will be seeing our culture.”

“Koan Poh Keng Kang,” which did a brisk box office business in Thailand, continues to draw cus­tom­ers, he said. Last month, auth­orized copies of the film were sold to India and Indonesia for $25,000 apiece.

Negotiations with Ma­laysia and France are ongoing. Fay Sam Ang said the price for France will be higher, because it has a large Cam­bo­dian com­munity and the distributor stands to make a lot of money. “Before the buyers come to negotiate, they already know about their markets,” he said. “They know they will not lose money with this film.”(Additional reporting by Jody McPhillips)

As for unauthorized copies of the movie, Fay Sam Ang said he has filed a lawsuit against a Thai company in Bangkok, accusing it of illegally duplicating and selling copies of “Koan Poh Keng Kang.”

He said the lawsuit may be suspended if the Thai company agrees to pay him reasonable compensation for lost sales.

(Additional reporting by Jody McPhillips)

 

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