I'm currently hanging out at my hotel room in Phnom Penh. In a few hours, RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS will be screening. Technically, this is the first film festival for DURIANS after Tokyo International Film Festival, I'm pretty thrilled, this is my first time in Cambodia.
I flew to Cambodia yesterday and headed straightaway, with luggage and all, to the venue of the opening ceremony at Aeon Mall (so familiar!)
The film festival was handing out their annual CIFF Talents Award to director Chey Sambath and actress Ma Rynet, for their talent and contribution to Cambodian film and TV industry. Chey Sambath's short film, made as part of Asian Film Awards, was screened before the opening film, THE LAST REEL, by Kulikar Sotho
THE LAST REEL is a heartwarming and very entertaining story of a rebellious young woman who stumbles upon an old movie that her mother starred in 40 years ago, made before the Khmer Rouge regime. She then tries to finish the film so she can show it to her mother. Getting her gangster boyfriend, a college professor and a few others to join in the fun. It's a very multilayered film, since it's also about the lives sacrificed during the horrible regime, especially those of filmmakers and actors.
I have actually met director Sotho Kulikar before, at the Tokyo International Film Fest, a few weeks ago. When she won THE SPIRIT OF ASIA award, she gave an absolutely wonderful acceptance speech.
I met her the day after, and this was the photo I took with her on the day I left Tokyo.
Yesterday, I didn't get to take any photos with her, but I managed to take a photo with THE LAST REEL actress Ma Rynet. Yeah!
More photos from the opening ceremony.