Tales from tomorrow

George Wright

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Left to right, Kanitha Tith, Sreylin Meas, Danech San. Photo: Jean-Sien Kin

Since it was formed four years ago, cinema production company Anti-Archive has been at the forefront of Cambodian independent film scene. Diamond Island, Davy Chou’s critically acclaimed 2016 feature, was nominated for numerous international awards. The company’s latest project, Echoes From Tomorrow, involves three short films from first-time female filmmakers. It easily surpassed a crowdfunding target, with donations coming from around the globe.

“We want to create and we want to support each other, which I think is missing in Cambodia,” says Kavich Neang, a co-founder of Anti-Archive and one of country’s leading filmmakers. “We don’t have much support from the government, of course. The main challenge is that we don’t have a film school and a place where you can gather filmmakers to talk, and, at Anti-Archive, we want to have this kind of activity.”

The resurgence of Cambodian cinema comes at a time when rights and freedoms are being widely curtailed in the country. The country’s media, in particular organisations seen as critical of the government, have also been under attack. The Cambodia Daily closed its doors after being handed a $6.3 million tax bill in September in 2017, while dozens of independent radio stations carrying the likes of Voice of America and Radio Free Asia were shut down. But this has yet to have a noticeable impact on the independent film scene, which is blossoming.

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