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Documentary Film on Cambodian Martial Art ‘Bokator’ to Screen in Philadelphia


Tharoth "Little Frog" SAM, one of the main cast members in Surviving Bokator. (Courtesy Photo)

Surviving Bokator,’ a documentary film about a Khmer Rouge survivor and martial art grandmaster who dreams to revive an ancient Cambodian sport, is set to premiere in the United States East Coast at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival this Friday, according to a press release.

Canadian filmmakers, Mark Bochsler and his partner Sandra Leuba, spent over five years following and documenting the journey of the grandmaster and his students who tried to resurrect a Cambodian ancient martial art of ‘Bokator’ that almost perished during the late-1970s cultural cleansing by the Khmer Rouge.

Bochsler said in the press release that he was fortunate to have a chance to document this grassroots movement of restoring such a unique culture of Cambodia. The stories of all characters, each with their own unique motivations and backstories, constitute an important inspiration for the world, according to Bochsler, that is “the ability of a people to steer through adversity and to recover from devastating loss.”

“It is an intimate personal narrative that also represents the broader story of a post-war nation struggling to rebuild its traditional identity,” Bochsler said.

From left to right: Mark Bochsler, Director; Tharoth "Little Frog" SAM, Cast Member; Sandra Leuba; Producer. (Courtesy Photo)
From left to right: Mark Bochsler, Director; Tharoth "Little Frog" SAM, Cast Member; Sandra Leuba; Producer. (Courtesy Photo)

The 97-minute documentary film, told in a cinema verité style, will be screened at 6:45 p.m. Friday, Nov 9., at the Lightbox Film Centre in Philadelphia.

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