Three Cambodian Filmmakers Shortlisted for Global Festival

Three young Cambodian filmmakers have been shortlisted for the inaugural Tropfest Southeast Asia (SEA) film festival to be held in Penang, Malaysia, on January 25, the organizers announced Tuesday.

Tropfest SEA is an expansion to Asia of the Tropfest project, a short-film festival begun in Australia in 1993 now held annually in cities around the world and dubbed “the world’s largest short film festival.”

“I am thrilled by the wonderful quality, creativity and diversity of the entries [which] have the potential to inspire not only the Southeast Asian region, but also the world,” said Joe Sidek, managing director of Tropfest SEA.

Mr. Sidek  added that the exposure would afford the Cambodian directors “an opportunity to tap into the global market.”

The 12 Tropfest SEA finalists were selected by 10 regional industry experts out of more than 180 entries received from across nine Southeast Asian countries.

The Cambodian films up for consideration are “Laek,” by Mony Kann Darung; “Duetto,” by Polen Ly; and “Rice,” by Ines Sothea. The other finalists include six from Malaysia, two from the Philippines and one from Thailand.

Mr. Kann Darung, 23, said that he will travel to Penang and hopes to win but will enjoy the moment regardless.

“This is my chance to meet other young filmmakers and important people in the industry, which could be a stepping stone for me to further my skill,” he said.

“There should be more effort to support young filmmakers both from the government and from those with experience in the industry. Though we also have international acclaimed directors like Rithy Panh and a few others, it is very hard for us young filmmakers to get our films to reach regional standards,” he added.

The short films will be screened and judged on the opening night of the festival by a panel including filmmaker Robert Luketic, who directed the Hollywood hit “Legally Blonde,” and Palme d’Or-winning Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

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