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Cambodian Documentary Wins Sundance Prize

  • Men Kimseng
  • VOA Khmer

Director, Kalyanee Mam's film "A River Changes Course" about her native country, Cambodia, wins the 2013 Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, January 26th in Park City, Utah. Photos courtesy of Scott Klepper.

Director, Kalyanee Mam's film "A River Changes Course" about her native country, Cambodia, wins the 2013 Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, January 26th in Park City, Utah. Photos courtesy of Scott Klepper.

WASHINGTON DC - “A River Changes Course,” a documentary exploring the impacts of modern development on traditional Cambodians, has won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film follows the lives of three Cambodians caught up in the country’s rapid economic development, as they struggle to make ends meet.

Cambodian-American filmmaker Mam Kalyanee told VOA Khmer she and her crew were “overwhelmingly excited” to win the prize, for a film that depicts the lives of everyday Cambodians.

The film follows a garment factory worker far from home, a fisherman forced to work on a plantation, and an ethnic minority woman facing the loss of her forest.

Mam Kalyanee, who was the director of photography for the Oscar-winning “Inside Job,” said her film is not political. “It only presents issues that exist in Cambodia.”

Those issues are wrapped up in the impacts of globalization, and the film seeks only to depict those impacts in Cambodia, she said. “These problems exist all over the country.”


She urged others to speak out on issues facing Cambodians where they live.

“There are a lot of problems in Cambodia, and I think that my documentary is an inspiration for others to make more documentaries to present our issues,” she said. “I want them to focus on contemporary issues, as there are so many of them that need to be addressed.”
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