The creative spirit is alive and thriving in Battambang as the Phare Ponleu Selpak, Safe Space BtB and AF Entertainment Productions, three organisations with the same objectives, continue their collaborative efforts through the “Cinema 4D Future” project.
The initiative aims to make the dreams of local youth come true by providing free-of-charge film workshops led by renowned Khmer film directors and producers.
The sixth instalment of the series is scheduled to take place on August 26 at the Phare Ponleu Selpak campus and is titled, “The different steps of making a feature film: from the first idea to the shooting.”
Davy Chou, one of the Kingdom’s most highly regarded cinema talents with an international reputation, will be the featured speaker at this month’s workshop.
Bryce Merkl Sasaki, marketing manager at Phare Ponleu Selpak, explained the significance of the event.
“The purpose of the project is to bring one Khmer film and filmmaker to Battambang each month. This will deepen and develop the film tastes and appreciation of the local population. This is closely aligned with the mission of Phare Ponleu Selpak – to change lives through the arts,” he said.
Chou’s workshop will guide participants through the intricate process of creating a feature film, starting from the initial idea to the final stages of production and editing.
The workshop will also cover the dynamics of working with actors and film crews, and provide invaluable insights into the craft of filmmaking.
Chou, a Khmer-French filmmaker, has an impressive portfolio of short and feature films that explore Cambodia and its diaspora.
His works include the documentary Golden Slumbers (2011) and feature films like Diamond Island (2016) and Return to Seoul (2022).
Chou founded Vycky Films in 2009 and has actively contributed to the Cambodian filmmaking scene through initiatives like the collective Kon Khmer Koun Khmer and the production company Anti-Archive.
His collaboration with Phare Ponleu Selpak predates the workshop.
Acting students from Phare Ponleu Selpak had the opportunity to showcase their talents in Chou’s film Diamond Island.
The night before the latest workshop, Chou’s Return to Seoul will be screened.
“We hope these workshops will empower the youth and the entire community to tell important stories through film and to appreciate film as a serious art form,” Sasaki told The Post.
The workshops are open to all youth, regardless of their prior experience or background in entertainment.
The goal is to encourage people in Battambang and across Cambodia to view film as more than just a source of entertainment, recognising it as an art form encompassing documentaries and art films, according to Sasaki.
He said the project is nurturing the next generation of Cambodian filmmakers, fostering their creativity and encouraging the appreciation of film as an art form, solidifying the belief that dreams can indeed come true through the power of cinema.
The project has previously welcomed talented directors and producers, each bringing their unique perspective and experience to the local aspiring filmmakers. By providing these opportunities, the organisers hope to inspire the youth and nurture their storytelling abilities.
During the fifth workshop, held on August 6, Lomorpich Rithy, also known as Yoki, conducted a session on turning ideas into stories, further enhancing the capabilities of the local filmmaking community.
During the workshop, participants posed numerous profound and thought-provoking questions. The skilled trainer transformed these queries into a vibrant and engaging discussion, fostering an environment where everyone felt encouraged to share their ideas.
The “Cinema 4D Future” project, a collaborative effort between AF Productions, SafeSpaceBtB, and Phare Ponleu Selpak, has been in motion since its inception on April 2nd.
The series began with Vanna Hem, who conducted a workshop on documentary production.
The project’s primary objective is to foster Khmer storytelling across various mediums, simultaneously nurturing local talent in Battambang and Cambodia. Furthermore, it champions human rights causes, aiming to create a more equitable society.
This initiative introduces the captivating world of Khmer cinema to Battambang’s youth, offering them a chance to see themselves on the silver screen and gain valuable insights from accomplished directors.
Moreover, a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales directly supports essential human rights, arts, and culture projects in Battambang.
As the workshops continue to engage and inspire, the future of Cambodian cinema looks brighter than ever, with local talents ready to share their unique stories with the world.