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Cambodian Film Industry: Today and Tomorrow

Chhay Bora, Director of award-winning movie “Lost Loves” discusses “Cambodian Film Industry: Present and Future” on Hello VOA radio call-in show, Monday, December 14, 2015. (Lim Sothy/VOA)

Filmmakers have an important role in showing the reality of Cambodia, even if it’s a sensitive topic such as corruption, director Chhay Bora told “Hello VOA” on Monday.

His film “Lost Loves,” which recounts the life of his mother-in-law under the Khmer Rouge, won seven out of eight awards at the fourth annual Cambodian Film Festival, which just ended in Phnom Penh.

“I think filmmakers are like book authors,” Chhay Bora said. “They have to reveal the reality in society. For me, speaking about the negative topics doesn’t mean you attack the government, like a political party attacking another political party. Instead, it’s the voice of the author, the voice of the people, who want Cambodia to be better.”

The award-winning filmmaker said one of his concerns is that young people are more attracted to foreign films. Cambodian filmmakers are talented, but they lack opportunities, resources and time to produce good movies, he said. Cambodia also needs to protect their work, with enforced copyright laws, he said.

“We, the producers, the film department, and the Ministry of Culture are very concerned about this, so starting next year, we will have training sessions for Cambodian writers to increase the quality of Khmer movies so that they can compete at the international level,” he said. “And when we can produce better films, we’ll cut down the demand for foreign films.”