Movie content: Local Vs Foreign

Recently, some actors or film stakeholders have been taken aback when the Ministry of Information (Cambodia) has agreed for local TV channels to broadcast Thai content. I’d say I support this return of Thai drama series to Cambodia, for three reasons, with three conditions.

First, as Cambodia is a free economy, banning Thai films from coming to Cambodia will even sabotage our national image and revenues. Apart from films, Cambodia is partly economically dependent on Thailand in other aspects. 
Second, the “temporary” blocking was actually caused by a minority of conservative people. I understand that that Thai star may have spoiled our history. Yet, her case was so individual that we could even have only asked her to apologize in public or media. As a result, I could see that the majority of Cambodian people have kept watching Thai drama series on DVD or Internet. So people will always look for quality content, no matter where it comes from or what it takes them.
Third, in terms of arts, we should be open enough to learn from our Thai or foreign counterparts. Of course, “learning” here doesn’t mean “blindly copying”. It just refers to “using their best practices with our original content”. Competition makes us stronger and eve more creative. It’s pointless to support mediocre products just for the sake of nationalism. Instead, our Cambodian fellows should find more ways to break through the barriers of our local audience. At the moment, I can see the local content is bouncing back. So worrying (too much) about other people’s won’t help us move forwards.

Still, there are three conditions that I think Ministry of Information (or even other stakeholders) can apply to help. On one hand, local “quality” content should be prioritized or encouraged on Cambodian TV channels. On the other, you can make it hard for Thai TV series to penetrate the Cambodian market with more taxes or dubbing quota. I knew these have been applied in some countries already. Also, sponsors of Cambodian TV series can enjoy special discounts from Cambodian channels. Which means if the same companies sponsor Thai or foreign series, they will pay 100% rates. 
I know these conditions may have some flaws and I’m willing to receive your feedback. Meanwhile, my collective Kon Khmer Koun Khmer is planning to distribute short films to TV. 

Memory! Film Festival hosted by Cambodia this year!

Last month, I attended an important film event of the year: Memory! Film Festival, organized by Techni Color Foundation and Bophana Center. Due to time constraint, I could watch only the opening and closing films. The opening was solemnly presided over by our King His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni with late King Father’s “Joy of Living”, and the Festival was cheerfully closed by Her Royal Highness Norodom Bopha Devi, starring herself in “Apsara”. 

Besides, I took on  a small role in coordinating communication between the Foundation in France and the artist of Cambodian classic film posters Sotha, who is also a 4Ker. In addition, my CallMe Translation Services came handy for the organizing team, mainly to help them with the program and scripts in Khmer.

Audience for the opening-June 01, 2013
Opening presided over by HM Sihamoni
Posing with renowned Cambodian-French   filmmaker Rithy Panh
Crowd for the closing
Posing between Davy (4K’s Founder) and Kavich (pioneer 4Ker)

Closing party

I know I should have written something about this. Yet, I found this post by my 4K colleague Kounila concise and relevant enough for your read already:

http://blueladyblog.com/article/memory-film-festival.html

Enjoy the experience. And I’ll try and cover more news related to film in Cambodia, if found remarkable or requested by you, dear readers!

Fast Dead and Alive

With overloading jobs for the last few weeks, the time gap between “Evil Dead” and “Fast and Furious 6” was quite big: 3 weeks away! But I still want to write out this review to see how my film experience can benefit you 🙂 Of course, the first one is a horror movie while the second one emphasizes on the action as a sequel.
Evil Dead
Despite my least interest in its genre, I went to see this movie! Funnily enough, my very first personal short is a horror, too, to be released by the end of this month! Is it like what we say in Khmer: “Your hate can end up with love over time”? Anyway, Wathanak was then my viewing partner. He is part of Khmer Film Foundation, another team I’ve led with other young filmmakers since last year. He himself was very helpful in producing promotional clips for the past FilmCamp.
Storyline
Five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remotecabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.Written by  Sony Pictures Entertainment
Evil Dead Poster

Highlights
The story is not a story until one of the actors, very curious, opens a black magic book and chants some mantra to release a buried spirit. Although curiosity leads to creativity, here it can also harm us! The end of this film is quite unique in that the brother plays a trick with the design to de-possess the evil spirit off his sister. This is probably a most epic scene I’ve ever seen in a film like this. I think, in terms of locations, the movie must have saved some funds as they don’t move a lot in the entire story. Maybe it’s a good example of how to save space in filming? 


Fast and Furious 6
I actually came to see this movie with no premiere ticket. What the cinema could tell me was that there was some mistake! Anyway, since it’s the sequel I’ve long expected, I was willing to pay to see it, alone. After watching it, I just can’t wait for sequel 7, especially with its pre-credit scene!
Storyline
Since Dom (Diesel) and Brian’s (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam, have left their lives incomplete. Meanwhile, Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again. Written by Universal Pictures
Fast and Furious 6

Highlights
This sequel, like Sequel 5, still focuses on “family” as Dom’s team’s main code. They may come from different parts of the world. But they treat each other like brothers and sisters. Needless to say, they’ve fought together for the last several years! Yet, in this episode, their code becomes so vulnerable that Dom almost loses his wife. The innovative turnout for this movie is how the police are put to co-operate with our so-called criminals to end antagonists who are their common “enemies”. Besides, I was not surprised that one of their mates, Gisele, dies just to help her to-be boyfriend Han in the final mission. This makes the film even more realistic.


Personal Ratings:
Evil Dead: 7/10
Fast and Furious 6: 9/10