This first-ever filmcamp event in Cambodia saw nearly 500 participants, mostly young aspiring film-makers, Cambodian film stars, and local as well as foreign professional filmmakers.
They came and shared their knowledge and expertise in the film industry. The March 24th event in 2012 was hosted at Canadia Tower on the sixth floor and marked the reawakening of new interest in low-budget films –more than that, the culture of sharing that has almost lost in the decades of silence.
The initiative to start this filmcamp was conceived when a small group of Kon Khmer Koun Khmer travelled to Laos to attend a filmcamp organized by Thomas Wanhoff, an expat who has been living in Vientiane and Southeast Asia for several years.
After the return from the filmcamp in Laos, Sithen Sum, General Representative of 4Ks together with its core members, were inspired and therefore began holding regular meetings on the weekends for at least four months before the actual date.
Those who attended the organization meetings squeezed in their little time they had on the weekends to contribute tirelessly for the FilmcampKH. With the period, brainstorming of whom to invite and what to do within one day took shape, after which responsibilities were shared among the members and volunteers.
With relentless support from Sabay, an entertainment company, the FilmCampKH had one-day free access to Canadia Tower’s 6th floor which has many free spaces, enabling organizers to turn them into different rooms including discussion rooms, lecture rooms, sponsors’ spots for their product advertisements.
Selected speakers were highly recommended by friends and co-workers – by all means, their popularity among Cambodian audiences. One of the speakers included Princess Soma Norodom, one of the Cambodian royals, who is working as Public Relations manager for a Bollywood company which has planned heir first casting for actors in 2012.
Another unforgettable long-acting Cambodian celebrity is Ms. Dy Saveth, whose role between the 1950s and 1960s made a major contribution to the rise of the golden Khmer cinema at that time.
The mix between the old good times and the present efforts to revive the film industry was well presented in the event by the speakers which could be found in the website: www.filmcampkh.org.
Prum Seila, the event coordinator of FilmCampKH, said that the event was 90% successful more than expected after scores of participants turned up and showed their support for the event.
It is highly likely that there will be another filmcamp coming up next year, he said. “We got very good feedback from the participants as they long for another one next year. This event is also a precious chance for people to build their network and get it going from there,” he added.
More than speaker-listener model, the event encouraged participant from those who joined. As earlier called “semi-conference”, FilmCampKH allowed participants to vote for topics and do short presentations about anything relate to filming they knew best. Audiences must be convinced to come to their sessions.
Topics were earlier posted on the board, and any owner of the topic that received the most votes would lead her/his session. FilmcampKh organizers fervently believe that to make any community event a success is to involve participants or get them engaged deeply into the atmosphere.
What was highly rated at the event was the announcement of the winners in the Chaktomuk Short Film Contest http://4riversfilmcontest.com/. The contest was made public three months before the actual date of FilmCampKH, enabling interested young people to make films of their own choice with the main theme or subject “Love”. On the day, it was found that all the competitors were Cambodian youth who love film-making with this intention to help boost the love of films in Cambodian society.
Many participants like Khek Sokunthea, 21-year-old accounting student from Vanda Institute of Accounting, got their eyes opened when attending this film event for the first time. Sokunthea believed that Cambodian youth only need opportunities to show their achievements to the world, but they need to create those opportunities by themselves, through engaging in a competition like the Chaktomuk Short Film Contest (CSFC).
Khek Sokunthea’s team won an Audience Award for their film called “Just a love” which can be viewed online on Youtube in this link: http://4riversfilmcontest.com/film/just-a-love/.
The first, second and third winners of the CSFC received some handsome amount of money, funded by the Ministry of Information and Sabay. The first winner was awarded USD 500, and the second winner USD 300 (?) while the third one got USD 200 (?).
This successful film community event attracted enormous interest and coverage from the media such as the Phnom Penh Post, the Cambodia Daily and some online news web portals for the unprecedented effort to organize a get-together of film-lovers and film-making professionals.
Hopefully, the 2013 filmcamp will continue to do so.