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Film Commission to Aid Ailing Industry

The Cambodian Film Commission officially launched Thursday in what local and international filmmakers say could help save the country’s flagging film industry.

Staffed by experienced local and foreign filmmakers, the CFC will train Cambodian professionals in film production and seek to attract more foreign companies to shoot movies in the country.

“The goal is to attract more productions in Cambodia and to be the gate for foreigners,” CFC Executive Director Cedric Eloy said.

Many filmmakers in America, Australia and Europe were previously reluctant to shoot in Cambodia because the country did not make it easy for them to do so, Elroy said. Foreign filmmakers have to go through several ministries and authorities before they are granted shooting permits, he said.

Cambodia’s film industry reached its peak during the 1960s under the leadership of former king Norodom Sihanouk, who directed and starred in myriad films. Although film productions re-emerged a decade ago, the industry has seen a sharp decline for the past few years.

Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Him Chem said at the inauguration Thursday Cambodia welcomed foreign filmmakers.

“Cambodia is a destination for foreign film productions,” he said, adding that the presence of more professional cameras capturing Cambodia could mean the salvation of dying Cambodian films.

Rithy Panh, an internationally recognized filmmaker and director of the Bophana Audiovisual Center, a partner of the CFC, said Thursday that Cambodian film would not die out.

“The CFC will be a training group to make Cambodian films stronger,” he said.