PHNOM PENH —
In a bustling coffee shop, a woman in a white flowery dress jumps hurriedly between working on her laptop and sketching out film production plans on a sheet of paper.
Kim Sothea Thangdy, also known as Amy, has struggled to move from minor roles on screen as a stunt actress to the director’s chair. While she’s never studied for professional directing qualifications, she says she’s done all she can to get involved in film production.
So far Thangdy has produced seven short films, as well as taking up jobs in radio production and with BBC Media Action.
She said that even though the work can sometimes be grueling, her heart is in it for the long haul.
“When I work in media, film, I feel content. Even if I’m working under the hot sun and I’m really tired, I’m happy with what I’m doing. The point is that you love what you are doing. I like working behind the scenes.”
In 2004, Thangdy was working as an actress, landing her first acting job.
Later on, I understood what I like. I like working behind the scenes. While being an actress, I started to understand how the camera works and how they record the voice. When I finished acting, I always stayed there to watch what they are doing behind the scenes.”
Thangdy took up some voluntary work and a short course in film production at the Bophana Center under the tutelage of Matthew Robinson, a famous British producer.
She has since become a program producer at PNN, a television network owned by ruling party senator and tycoon Ly Yong Phat.
“First, my work involves production, which includes filming and directing. I produce my own work. I am the one who thinks about the concept, then I make it to pictures and results.”
Thangdy has plans to produce two more short movies in the near future, while her long-term ambition remains to make feature-length films.
Soyou Chea, a friend of Thangdy and a fellow filmmaker, said she sees Thangdy as a “passionate and active filmmaker.”
“She constantly works hard to improve her work,” she added.
Thangdy is now becoming something of a mentor to aspiring filmmakers, such as Svay Leemeng.
“Firstly, she is someone I like. Secondly, she worked a lot in that field. Thirdly, she is a director. I think she has a lot of experience in the field so I can learn from her when she gives me comments.”