5 Reasons Why Short Films Matter

Those of you who have known me personally, may be familiar with how “much” I have promoted short films so far. Some of you may be then wondering why. Below are my reasons, although I believe other filmmakers or producers may find more!

  1. Short Films Serve As Your Career Spring Boards

Believe it or not, before I got involved in the film industry, I thought I’d simply work on a 9-to-5 job. Thus, I can save up and use those savings to found my feature film production. As fate has it, only in 2009 did I meet Davy CHOU. Then, I realized all it took for me now was to make a short film with a passionate team. Two memorable results sprang from that venture: Twin Diamonds and the Golden Re-Awakening of Cambodian Cinema in the 1960s-70s Exhibition. Needless to say, the same year saw the foundation of film collective, Kon Khmer Koun Khmer. Ever since, I was elected to lead the team for several years.

 Front Poster
Twin Diamonds – short film series – poster
  1. Short Films Test Your Commitment and Passion

Over years of my film experience, I have seen and worked with many varied filmmakers. Of those wannabes, a few quit half-way, not because I stop seeing them. But no new work has ever been created or even publicized. As such, I’d say some would make short films only for instantaneous cash prizes. When they can’t win any (more), they switch to another job or hobby. Is it their fault? No, it’s just that time tries their commitment and passion through film-related “challenges”!

Are You Lost or Found?!
  1. Short Films Prepare You for Bigger Games

Have you watched this world’s acclaimed “Whiplash“? This is just one of the many valid examples of how a short filmmaker turns into a feature filmmaker over time. Some Hollywood cast also rise from their small roles in short films or TV series. After winning twice from Chaktomuk Short Film Festival, NETH Inrasothythep is now co-directing a feature horror movie for a leading local production. And some of our winners like LY POlen has built his momentum from his festival accolades to even bigger projects on the international stage!

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Thep, interviewed on set of the Tenant.
Image Source: WML+ Facebook Page
  1. Short Films Connects You with Like Minds

Outside of our festival, I managed to work with a few promising filmmakers like OUCH Makara. He showcased his debuts in our first two editions of our festival. Later, I (co-)produced with him, Koh Ker the Lost Wonder, The Lock, and currently, a series of documentaries for a Siem Reap-based organization. From my years with Kon Khmer Koun Khmer, KEO Kounila has been working with us on a couple of communication campaigns. The latest of which featured short film production and training, conducted near Prey Lang.

Polen probing his students near Preay Lang, about childhood stories
  1. Short Films Feed You!

Here comes the most practical part, you bet! I’m not saying you only make short films just for your craving. But you can always turn them into services, if not business. Let’s take two examples of our 2019 CSFF Finalists, CHAN Sinet and SENG Thy. They have respectively turned to short documentaries and educational videos, just through this uncertain time. Also, let’s say real estate remains the most profitable. So why not make short videos for property business? This way, you could both maintain your passion while earning income from another business. Truth is, I’m now incubating this kind of services with a few real estate experts!

A scence of a commercial short film I produced last year at DancingRains

Simply put, short films should NOT make you short-sighted! In contrast, these level you up, test your guts, profile you up, links you up, and, of course, finance your living. This latter can happen, only if you keep your personal agenda aside! So if you’re already making a new short film and reading this post, consider submitting it to CSFF this year. As you can see, your work can go beyond our own platform(s). And your career expectations may be met, if you have the courage to do it now!

PS: Do check out our submission trailer below, made by our Production Head, SAN Lynareach!

Why Essentialism Stands the Test of Time, even COVID-19

I heard a lot about essentialism or minimalism, referred to as simplistic living. But I did not realize it makes sense to me after I read this e-book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKEOWN. You may, therefore, wonder how I got to check it out. Well, my “essentialist” friend, Rithy THUL, handed it over, personally finding me going round in circles! After branding myself out in various activities (social/commercial), then was the right to time to embrace that concept. Eventually, I’m glad it has prepared me for the current chaos like COVID-19. Below are the reasons I deem “essentialism” essential for our lives, not just through uncertain moments.

1- Priority Matters

Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash

Essentialists believe life is too short to prioritize everything coming your way. In order to cope with this issue, I also blogged about time management based “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Under the current circumstances, ask yourself who matters to you most. Most people, including me, would value their family above all, while a few may cherish their work more. So schedule your daily tasks, according to that priority, which may make your regular quarantine more meaningful!

2- Living Can Be Simpler

Materialists would be happy showing off their possessions or gains to other people. In pastime, they may even carry more luggage or worse, garbage than needed. Essential living lies on simple needs, or just enough to keep one safe and sane. Essentialists tend to be very selective of what to do, eat, or even think. They will answer a polite NO to what contradicts their principles. For that purpose, these days, either I throw away my long-used clothes or hand them down to needy people.

3- Quitters Don’t Have to Be Losers


For me, the essence of life should evolve around growth and love. When essentialists quit pursuing a task at hand, it does not mean they throw their vital mission away. It only implies they are realistic enough to change their approach instead of staying stubborn or stuck, with what is already proven not to work. This scenario perfectly resonates with Einstein’s quote: “Insanity is doing the same things, expecting different results.” Throughout this pandemic, if you keep thinking your passion alone can feed you, chances are, it might rip you apart slowly, but surely. That is why I am building up our family business aside, through online translations, as it cater to daily needs: vegetables and groceries!

4- Reduce Decision Fatigue

It is said we, human beings, make each 35,000 decisions a day! Yeah, we think so much that each day may emotionally exhaust us. More often than not, we allow trivial or negative matters to occupy our mind. Yet, if we go to the essence, only a few decisions would matter to us every day. Take these two decisions, for example: This Sunday, will you brew your own coffee at home or drink it outside? In parallel, will you spend only one hour or two with your kids? Your call to tell which decision matters to your day!

5- Efforts Become Optional

This (last) reason should be residual from the previous ones, as we have already decluttered non-essential items off our list. You feel lighter or even happier to work on only what matters to you. As a result, in most cases, you can achieve more than expected. I’m sure you felt that way before, when your mind was clear and focused on the present task at hand. Ultimately, you can even delegate that non-important job to other people so that this leverage benefits both sides!

If you are still not convinced of why essentialism matters to our (current) living, look at Buddha, Jesus, Muhammed, Henry Ford, Gandhi, Steve Jobs, for your few inspirations. They all share this way of life, as their wealth or power turn out to be their by-products. Still feel tempted with peer pressure or redundant procrastination? Well, I found it also challenging to adopt essentialism. But we all can unlearn old, unproductive habits while learning the healthier ones with discipline and commitment.

PS: Every time I face a tough/important decision, I ask myself: What matters to me now or even in the long run? Your homework is to find your own answer after this reading!