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‘Enemies of the People’ Nominated for Three Emmys

Nuon Chea (left), "Brother Number Two" of the Khmer Rouge regime, sits with documentary filmmaker Thet Sambath during an interview.
Nuon Chea (left), "Brother Number Two" of the Khmer Rouge regime, sits with documentary filmmaker Thet Sambath during an interview.

A documentary film that sheds personal light on Khmer Rouge leaders has received nods for recognition at the 2012 News & Documentary Emmy Awards.

“Enemies of the People,” a Khmer Rouge documentary with exclusive interviews with Pol Pot’s lieutenant, Nuon Chea, has been nominated for three Emmy Awards, one of the highest accolades in American television journalism and documentary reporting.

Co-produced by Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath and British filmmaker Rob Lemkin, the film premiered at the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam in 2009 and made it onto the docket for an acclaimed documentary series by the Public Broadcasting Service, P.O.V. last June, after critical acclaim at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and success at the box office the following summer.

The film addresses the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime and its residue among the Cambodian people, who, four decades later, are left facing unanswered questions. The story is also tells of the personal journey undertaken by Thet Sambath, who lost his father and older brother to regime brutality as a child and seeks through the film to understand why.

The reporter spent years interviewing Nuon Chea, also known as Brother No. 2 and the regime’s chief ideologue, who is now on trial at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal for atrocity crimes committed under his command. In exclusive interviews with Theth Sambath prior to his 2007 arrest, the reclusive leader gives vivid descriptions of the regime’s ideals, policies and motives.

For its efforts, “Enemies of the People” has been nominated for an Emmy in three categories: Best Documentary; Outstanding Investigative Journalism – Long Form; and Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Research. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will award the winners at a ceremony on Oct. 1, honoring journalists and documentary filmmakers.

Previously, the film was shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature at the 2011 Oscars and has received jury prizes at numerous international film festivals of renown, including Sundance in 2010, where it premiered in the United States.