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The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar Accepts the Spirit of Asia Award

The official Tokyo International Film Festival videos are now live on the Hanuman Films Youtube channel. See The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar deliver a moving acceptance speech dedicated to Cambodia and Cambodians everywhere as she accepts the Spirit of Asia Award by the Japan Foundation Asia Center.

 

The Cambodian premiere of The Last Reel will be at 18.00pm at the Major Cineplex, Aeon Mall, on Friday 5 December, the opening film of the Cambodian International Film Festival, but this is by invitation only.

There will be two more screenings for The Last Reel. 17.30pm on 9 December at Legend Cinema, Tuol Kork and 16.15pm on 10 December at Major Cineplex, Aeon Mall, both in Phnom Penh. Details on advance tickets will be announced by CIFF soon. Both screenings to be followed by a Q & A with award-winning Director Sotho Kulikar and selected cast members.

The Last Reel has a ‘deeply emotional impact’ on The Playlist on Indiewire

The debut feature film from Hanuman Films and Director Sotho Kulikar is described as “affecting and gripping” and “a passionate cri de coeur”.

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar works with actors Ma Rynet (Sophoun) and Sok Sothun (Vichea) in the abandoned cinema

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar works with actors Ma Rynet (Sophoun) and Sok Sothun (Vichea) in the abandoned cinema

“The debut film from Cambodian director Sotho Kulikar, “The Last Reel” starts shakily but adds nuance and layers as it progresses to become affecting and gripping by its closing section, something noted by the committee who gave it the “Spirit of Asia” award at the Tokyo International Film Festival. This is the second Cambodian film that we know of to use the history of the country’s pop cultural/filmmaking past to comment on both the devastation wrought by the Khmer Rouge, and the cathartic power of storytelling. The widely lauded documentary/personal history “The Missing Picture” is the other picture, while the documentary “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten,” which plays at this year’s stacked DOC NYC fest and investigates the country’s relationship with rock ‘n’ roll, looks set to be a third entry into this mini-subgenre (and our attention was drawn to another — “Golden Slumbers” reviewed here). But “The Last Reel,” though heavily autobiographical, is not a documentary, and the unmistakably personal nature of its story allows it to become, by its close a passionate cri de coeur, and a lamentation for a period of cruelty and perverted ideology that scars, perhaps even maims, the collective Cambodian memory.

As simple fiction, the film flounders a little, especially initially when we are expected to invest in the rather empty-headed star cross’d romance between a young Cambodian girl and her no-good gang affiliated boyfriend. The snapshot it gives of current Cambodian attitudes to gender relations and familial duty is interesting, but the tale is an overfamiliar one, and the filmmaking, never terribly sophisticated, doesn’t give us much reason to suspect just what a stunning story Kulikar has up her sleeve. In fact, if it were our business to do so, we’d strongly urge her to make substantial cuts to this portion—essentially, she buries her fascinating lede under some not terribly interesting filler. And throughout the rest of the film, she only occasionally manages a true synthesis of the real story with the rather melodramatic turns the fictional overlay takes.

But no matter, because the real story that emerges, somehow all the more evocative for being told in glimpses, builds into a desperately moving, and surprising tale. A married, fragile ex-movie star, her overbearing husband, and the owner of the dilapidated cinema who pines for her, become entangled in a young girl’s desire to reshoot an ending to a currently unfinished film, and soon the secrets all three hide as to their roles and actions during the terror come to light. More about story than style, “The Last Reel” relates a personal, cross-generational tale of love and hate to the loss of cultural heritage and identity that occurred when Khmer Rouge outlawed moviemaking and destroyed a thriving national industry, and if only in its own last reel, it has both educational and deeply emotional impact.”

ខ្សែភាពយន្ត​ខ្មែរមួយ ឈ្នះ​​ពាន​ពី​ជប៉ុន

សែភាពយន្ត​​ខ្មែរ​រឿង “The Last Reel ឬ ដុំ​ហ្វីល​ចុង​ក្រោយ” របស់ អ្នកស្រី សុទ្ធោ គុល្លិការ បាន​ទទួល​ពាន​រង្វាន់​ពី​មហោស្រព​ភាពយន្ត​អន្តរជាតិ​មួយ​នៅ​ទី​ក្រុង Tokyo ប្រទេស​ជប៉ុន កាល​​ពី​ចុង​ខែ តុលា ឆ្នាំ ២០១៤​នេះ។

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar accepts the prestigious Spirit of Asia Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2014

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar accepts the prestigious Spirit of Asia Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2014


ពាន​ដែល​ខ្សែភាពយន្ត​​រឿង “The Last Reel ឬ ដុំ​ហ្វីល​ចុង​ក្រោយ” ទទួល​បាន​មាន​ឈ្មោះ​ថា ” ដួង​ព្រលឹង​អាស៊ី ឬ The Spirit of Asia “ ពី​មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​មូលនិធិ​អាស៊ី​ជប៉ុន ​។ អ្នកស្រី សុទ្ធោ គុល្លិការ ដែល​អ្នក​ដឹក​នាំ​សម្ដែង និង​ ជា​ផលិតករ​នៃ ខ្សែភាពយន្ត​មួយ​នេះ​បាន​ឲ្យ​ដឹង​ថា មហោស្រព Tokyo International Film Festival 2014 បាន​ធ្វើ​តាំង​ពី​ថ្ងៃ​ទី ២៣ រហូត ដល់​ថ្ងៃ​ទី ៣១ ខែ តុលា ឆ្នាំ ២០១៤ កន្លង​ទៅ​នេះ ដោយ​នៅ​ក្នុង​នោះ​​ខ្សែភាពយន្ត ជាង ២០០ រឿង ​មក​ពី​តំបន់​អាស៊ី ត្រូវ​បាន​ដាក់​ចូល​រួម​ប្រកួត ប៉ុន្តែ ​គណៈកម្មការ​សម្រេច​ជ្រើសរើស​យក​តែ​ ៣០ រឿង ​ប៉ុណ្ណោះ មក​ចាក់​បញ្ចាំង​ប្រកួត។ ជាលទ្ធផល​​មាន​តែ ១១ រឿង​ប៉ុណ្ណោះ ដែល​ទទួល​ពានរង្វាន់​ក្នុង​កម្មវិធី​នេះ​ក្នុង​នោះ​ក៏​មាន​ខ្សែភាពយន្ត​​​​ខ្មែរ។

រឿង “The Last Reel ឬ ដុំ​ហ្វីល​ចុង​ក្រោយ” ដែល​​ទទួល​បាន​ពាន​រង្វាន់ “ដួង​ព្រលឹង​អាស៊ី ឬ The Spirit of Asia “ ជា​ខ្សែភាពយន្ត​ដែល​និយាយ​ពី មរតក​នៃ​ភាព​រន្ធត់ របស់​ក្រុម​គ្រួសារ​កម្ពុជា ក្នុង​របប​ខ្មែរ​ក្រហម និង ផល​ប៉ះពាល់​ពី​សម័យ​នោះ មក​សង្គម​កម្ពុជា សម័យ​ក្រោយៗ​ទៀត។ តារា​សម្ដែង​នៅ​ក្នុង​រឿង​នេះ មាន អ្នក​ស្រី ឌឺ សាវ៉េត កញ្ញា ម៉ារី ណែត និង លោក សុខ សុធន លោក ហ៊ុន សុភី និង តារា​សម្ដែង​មួយ​ចំនួន​ទៀត។

រឿង “The Last Reel ឬ ដុំ​ហ្វីល​ចុង​ក្រោយ” គឺ​ជា​ស្នាដៃ​លើក​​ដំបូង របស់​អ្នកស្រី សុទ្ធោ គុល្លិការ។ អ្នក​ស្រី​ថា ជោគជ័យ​ដែល ទទួល​បាន​នេះ គឺ​ជា​ កម្លាំង​ចិត្ត​ដ៏ធំ ក្នុង​ការ​ជំរុញ​ឲ្យ​អ្នក​ស្រី​ផលិត​ភាពយន្ត​បន្ត​ទៀត។

បើ​តាម​ការ​បញ្ជាក់​ពី​អ្នក​ដឹង​នាំ​រឿង​មួយ​នេះ រឿង”The Last Reel ឬ ដុំ​ហ្វីល​ចុង​ក្រោយ” នៅ​មិន​ទាន់​មាន​គម្រោង​​ដាក់​បញ្ចាំង​លក់​សំបុត្រ​តាម​រោងភាពយន្ត​នានា​​ក្នុង​ប្រទេស​កម្ពុជា​​នៅ​ឡើយ ប៉ុន្តែ​ខ្សែភាពយន្ត​មួយ​នេះ គ្រោង​នឹង​ចូល​រួម ក្នុង​មហោស្រព​ភាពយន្ត​កម្ពុជា ដែល​នឹង​ត្រូវ​ធ្វើ​នៅ​ថ្ងៃ​ទី ៥ រហូត​ដល់​ថ្ងៃ​ទី ១០ ខែ ធ្នូ ឆ្នាំ ២០១៤ ខាង​មុន​នេះ៕

“A Reel of Hope and Love” in The Nation newspaper, Bangkok

One of Thailand’s leading English-language daily newspapers, The Nation, ran a detailed story on The Last Reel director Sotho Kulikar on 11 November, by Donsaron Kovitvanitcha, reproduced below.


Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar works with actors on set during filming.

Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar works with actors on set during filming.

The 1960s are widely known as the golden age of Cambodian cinema with more than 300 films made in slightly over a decade including the horror flick “Pos Keng Kang” (“The Snake King’s Wife”) by Tea Lim Kun, which enjoyed great success in Thailand. The take-over of the country by the Khmer Rouge in 1975 brought an abrupt end to that era, with many movers and shakers killed or forced to flee abroad and despite peace returning to Cambodia 20 years ago, the industry has remained small.

Now Cambodia looks set to enter a second golden age thanks to a new generation of talented filmmakers who have been scooping up awards. The most recent to take home a top prize was Sotho Kulikar, who received the Spirit of Asia award from the Japan Foundation Asia Centre at last month’s prestigious Tokyo International Film Festival for her directorial debut “The Last Reel”.

“I wanted to tell the story of my country from the perspective of a Cambodian who has gone through the period of war and poverty,” says Kulikar, one of the few female film directors in Cambodian film history. The most famous is Ung Kanthouk who survived the Khmer Rouge and now resides in France and directed “Mouy Mern Alai” (“10,000 Regrets:) which was also released in Thailand. Also well up the stepladder to fame is Kalyanee Mamm whose “A River Changed Course” was the first Cambodian documentary to be screened at Sundance Film Festival.

Kulikar already has more than 10 years of experienced to her credit and heads her own production service company Hanuman Films, which has worked on many international productions including the Angelina Jolie vehicle “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”.

She became director of “The Last Reel” almost by accident. “When the script came to me, I was intending to be the line producer, which is my field of work, but the scriptwriter encouraged me to take the helm,” she explains.

“The Last Reel” begins in modern-day Cambodia when Sophoun (Ma Rynet) escapes the marriage arranged by her family and seeks refuge in an old movie theatre. There she meets Vichea (Sok Sothun), an old projectionist who shows her an unreleased film from the pre-Khmer Rouge days and tells her that the last reel is missing. Sophoun feels a connection with the story and after finding out that her mother was the lead actress sets out to try to complete it by re-shooting the lost part. In the process, she learns the story of her parents during the days under the Khmer Rouge.

“I was 19 months old when the Khmer Rouge took control of Phnom Penh,” Kulikar says, adding that she too feels a connection to the script.

“I was in my father’s arms when our family was forced to leave the city. I grew up during the period but I can’t remember things very clearly. One thing that I remember well is that during the later years of that regime, I didn’t see my father anymore. Suddenly he was gone. I was sent to live in the children’s camp. One day there was a massive storm and the building collapsed. My mother who was working in the rice field ran to the children’s camp to find me. As she reached the building, the old lady who looked after the children held me up to show I’m still live. After the genocide, all that was left of the family was me, my mother and my sister.”

Much of “The Last Reel” is focused on the 1960s and the films made during that decade. Kulikar watched many of them in the post-regime years.

“I love the golden age of Khmer cinema. I love the films directed by our King Father Norodom Sihanouk like ‘The Rose of Bokor’ and Ung Kanthouk’s movies like ‘Mouy Mern Alai’, which reflects modern Cambodian society back then. I love the purity of the old Khmer films, and I want everyone to start talking about the films from the golden age.”

Dy Saveth, the renowned Khmer actress who starred in “Snake Man” plays Sophoun’s mother, Srey Mom, and it is her face that appears in the unreleased film.

“Dy Saveth represents our glorious years, and she is a very talented actress. The combination of her legacy and the fact that she is still full of energy as an actress is the reason I asked her to be in my film.”

“I’ve known Kulikar for a while,” adds Dy Saveth who was in Tokyo for the screening, her second visit after a gap of almost 50 years.

“When Kulikar gave me the script I was instantly attracted to the title. I wanted to understand more about the period of the Khmer Rouge when I was not in Cambodia,” says the veteran actress who fled to Thailand before the fall of Phnom Penh and lived in France for almost 20 years before returning to Cambodia in 1994.

“There’s a lot of energy running through Cambodian cinema,” says Kulikar, “We have Rithy Panh whose films are selected for the major film festivals and ‘The Missing Picture’ was also nominated for an Academy Award. Two year ago we co-produced ‘Ruin’ with an Australian company and the film was screened in Venice.

“All that energy as well as the support we receive through the social media is really giving hope to the new generation of filmmakers.”

After its success in Tokyo, “The Last Reel” will return home this December as the opening film of the Cambodia International Film Festival, before continuing its travels around the festival circuit.

“It’s been selected for the Singapore International Film Festival too and we are talking with many others. Our aim is to show ‘The Last Reel’ as several festivals before it goes for commercial release in Cambodia,” she says.

The Nation, Bangkok, 11 November 2014, 01.00am

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/A-reel-of-hope-and-love-30247418.html

The Spirit of Cambodia shines through in the Spirit of Asia Award

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar gave a moving acceptance speech when collecting the Spirit of Asia Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival.


27th Tokyo International Film Festival award winners, including Sotho Kulikar (far left)

27th Tokyo International Film Festival award winners, including Sotho Kulikar (far left)

“I want to thank TIFF and Japan for selecting my Cambodian film. This will help boost the recognition of the filmmaking industry in my home country, Cambodia. This success I owe so many people, whether you are here, in Cambodia or in Australia. Thanks to my children, my husband, my sister for being here, and to my mother, a great role model in my life. Without her I would not be here. My mother once told me that before the civil war took place, she said to my father that we should leave the country and stay in Europe a little while. My father said why would you want to leave cambodia and live in Europe where there is only 6 months of sunshine each year, in our country when you open the window the sun shines everyday. His expression was for his love of his country, so this award is for my country, Cambodia.”

The Last Reel Wins the Spirit of Asia Award at TIFF 2014 in Tokyo

The 27th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF Japan 2014) was a resounding success for The Last Reel team and the principals from Hanuman Films as debutant Director Sotho Kulikar won the Spirit of Asia Award.

 

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar receives the Spirit of Asia Award.

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar receives the Spirit of Asia Award.

 

Director Sotho Kulikar, Producer Murray Pope, Executive Producers Tan Sotho and Nick Ray, and actors Ma Rynet, Dy Saveth, Sok Sothun and Hun Sophy travelled to Tokyo for the festival and had an incredible week. The world premiere was on Sunday 26 October at 14.10pm at TOHO Cinemas, Roppongi Hills, and screened to a sellout audience. A Q & A followed with the director and actors before the team rolled on to Gonpachi Restaurant in Roppongi. Famous as the inspiration for Uma Thurman’s showdown with Lucy Liu in Quentin Taratino’s ‘Kill Bill‘, celebrity diners have included Lady Gaga and Barack Obama, although not together.

Sunday saw a Kabuki performance at the famous Kabukizi Theatre in Tokyo, recently restored to its former glory. The audience was treated to  ‘Shakkyo‘ (Stone Bridge) by Ichikawa Somegoro, one of Japan’s best known artists. After a brief but beautifully presented bento box for dinner, the audience enjoyed a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, complete with some hilarious boxing sequences.

After some sightseeing around Tokyo, it was time for the second screening of The Last Reel at TOHO Cinemas, Roppongi Hills. Another packed house saw a longer Q & A session with time for the audience to ask some profound questions. A celebratory dinner followed at a nearby local restaurant.

After a couple more days of sightseeing, including the famous Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest freestanding tower, and the Senso-Ji Temple, it was time for the Closing Ceremony of TIFF Japan 2014. Director Sotho Kulikar was seated in C36 right behind the Press, but there was still no clear indication of an award at this stage. After the Shogun Award was shared between film titans Tim Burton and Takeshi Kitano, it was time for the Japanese Film Splash which went to ‘100 Yen Love‘ with a special mention for ‘Ecotherapy Getaway Holiday‘.

Then came the all-important Asian Future section and the announcement of the Spirit of Asia Award by the Japan Foundation Asia Center. As the presenter mentioned a country in turmoil, we dared to believe and before long Director Sotho Kulikar was bound for the stage. An emotional speech followed in which she thanked her team in Japan, Cambodia and Australia and talked about the relationship between her mother and father. She dedicated the award to Cambodia and Cambodian people everywhere and hopes that it will help inspire a new generation of filmmakers.

Other award winners on the night included ‘Borderless” with the Best Asian Future Film Award; ‘Test’ with the WOWOW Viewer’s Choice Award and for Best Artistic Contribution; ‘Pale Moon‘ with the Audience Award and Rie Miyazawa as Best Actress; ‘The Mighty Angel‘ with Robert Więckiewicz as Best Actor; ‘The Lesson‘ with the Special Jury Prize; and ‘Heaven Knows What‘ with both the Best Director Award and Tokyo Grand Prix going to Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie.

It was time to celebrate after some photo calls and interviews and the party kicked off at the Academy Hills on the 49th Floor of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower with champagne in full flow. The team eventually made it back to the Okura Hotel and spent Saturday recovering before the long flight home to Phnom Penh.

 

 

 

 

The Last Reel Officially Selected For TIFF

lastreel88

We are honoured to have been chosen by the Tokyo International Film Festival who will play host to the World Premiere of The Last Reel later this month. Kulikar Sotho’s directorial debut has been included as one of ten films from ten different countries to be shown in the Asian Future section for new directors. The screening dates are 26th and 29th October at the Toho Cinemas, Roppongi Hills in Tokyo.

 

The programming director of TIFF, Kenji Ishizaka, spoke to the press: “The Asian Future section is for first or second feature films made in Asia and established last year. We increased the competition films from 8 (last year) to 10 this year, and we selected various types of movies from 10 different countries. 9 out of 10 films are World Premieres at TIFF, so we keep searching for fresh films from all Asian countries and regions. These 10 films are selected from nearly 250 films in our competition, their stories are very rich and mostly based on record or memory about the past and the changes in the present. Because Asian countries are undergoing modernization and there are drastic changes in those countries.”

 

The Last Reel is the most significant independent feature film to come out of Cambodia in a generation. It is the directorial debut of Kulikar Sotho, based on a script by Ian Masters. The Khmer-language film with English subtitles was shot entirely on location in Cambodia during 2013 with a cast of leading local talent including Ma Rynet, Dy Saveth and Rous Mony.

 

Film Synopsis: When Sophoun, the directionless daughter of a hard-line Khmer Colonel runs away from an arranged marriage, she finds refuge in an abandoned cinema. There she discovers an incomplete melodrama from pre-Khmer Rouge times, a film which starred her now desperately ill mother as a young woman; a different world, a different time. With the help of the elderly projectionist, she decides to remake the missing last reel. By screening the film to her mother, she hopes to remind her of a life she’d once lived and try to mend the psychological scars that still torment her. But no one and nothing is what it seems. Remaking the last reel offers Sophoun a chance to dictate her own destiny but at the cost of uncovering some painful truths about her family and their past.

 

To learn more about The Last Reel and those involved in the making of this movie please visit the official film website The Last Reel Website

 

If you would like to view the trailer it can be found here The Last Reel Trailer

 

‘Ruin’ Trailer Now Showing on the Hanuman Films Youtube Channel

Special Orizzonti Prize Winner at the Venice Film Festival 2013, Ruin was the first international co-production for Hanuman Films, in collaboration with Australian filmmakers Amiel Courtin-Wilson and Michael Cody.



Shot on location in Cambodia over the course of 2011 and 2013, this arthouse road movie tells the story of two young lovers living on the margins of Cambodian society.


“Ruin is an impressionistic fable – the story of Phirun (Rous Mony) and Sovanna (Sang Malen) – two young lovers inexplicably drawn together who escape a brutal and exploitative world of crime and violence in modern day Cambodia.


Fleeing Phnom Penh after a murder, they travel deeper into the jungle. As their vulnerable love ebbs and flows along their journey, they wake from the trauma of their former lives and unleash a violent rage upon the world. Love and death intermingle as they travel deeper into the abyss, their world strangely transforming around the two young lovers on the run.”


Other awards for Ruin include:


‘Best Image’ – 2morrow Film Festival Moscow 2014

‘Best Editing’ – 56th Asia-Pacific Film Festival 2014

‘Best Direction’ – Fantaspoa International Film Festival 2014


Ruin has not yet been premiered in Cambodia so watch this space for an update on future screenings.

A Look Back At Heineken ‘Dropped’ in Cambodia

 

Just over one year ago Hanuman Films was contacted by WeFilm of the Netherlands who wanted to shoot an episode of the popular Heineken Beer series ‘Dropped’. The producers wanted to film in some remote areas of Cambodia and Hanuman Films was on hand to advice and organize the shoot. Below is an article about the filming experience of the international crew whilst in Cambodia.

 

http://www.thelocationguide.com/blog/2013/07/ng-commercial-wefilm-continues-heineken-dropped-campaign-filming-in-cambodia/

Join Hanuman Films on a Virtual Location Scout in Battambang

Watch this location video of Cambodia’s charming second city, including impressive colonial-era buildings, a striking riverside location and some out-of-town attractions set in an idyllic rural setting.

Battambang is a great place to create the old atmosphere of French Indochine or the parts of Indochina back in the days of the Vietnam War, before cities like Hanoi and Phnom Penh developed a modern face. All The Last Reel cinema locations were shot in Battambang as was much of The Gate, based on Francois Bizot’s book, currently in post-production. Add to the architecture the infamous bamboo ‘norry’ train or one of the famed hilltop ancient temples like Phnom Banan and you have one of Cambodia’s most diverse locations for a film crew wanting to stay away from the public eye and concentrate on getting the job done.

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