Hanuman Films Blog

A proven track record of production success in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and across the Southeast Asia region

The Last Reel is Nominated for the ICFT-UNESCO Fellini Award

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2015 in collaboration with the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT), Paris, will present a special ICFT prize consisting of the UNESCO Fellini Medal awarded to a film which reflects the ideals promoted by UNESCO.

The Last Reel is nominated for the  ICFT-UNESCO Fellini Award

The Last Reel is nominated for the ICFT-UNESCO Fellini Award

‪The Last Reel‬ has been nominated for this prize and is one of 12 films in the running. The Last Reel will screen at 4.30pm on Monday 23 November at the 46th International Film Festival of India in Goa, which takes place from 20-30 November 2015.
http://www.iffi.nic.in/iffi_2015/Unesco%20Awards%20and%20medal.pdf
The broad guidelines for the selection of the films are:
“The film shall exhibit artistic excellence in screenplay, music, and filming technique.
The film shall promote the common good, which is defined as a society in which persons and communities care for one another’s well-being.
The film shall exhibit sensitivity to the human situation, promoting the dignity of all.
The film shall cultivate a realistic hope of creative transformation.
The film shall reflect the ideals of peace, love, tolerance, harmony and friendship.”
Fingers crossed for yet another award for The Last Reel.

The Last Reel is Going Global at International Film Festivals

The Last Reel continues to screen at international film festivals around the world, including the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, 23-30 April 2015, the Far East Film Festival, Udine, Italy, 23 April – 02 May 2015, before returning to the US to screen at the new Bentonville Film Festival, 05-09 May 2015.

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

The Last Reel has already won two international awards, including the ‘Spirit of Asia’ Award for Director Sotho Kulikar at the Tokyo International Film Festival in Japan in October 2014 and the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Award for Sok Sothun at the Asean International Film Festival& Awards in Malaysia in April 2015.

International Film Reviews

The Hollywood Reporter
“With The Last Reel, Cambodian cinema’s resurgence as a filmmaking force continues apace… Sotho Kulikar conjures remarkable performances from her lead actresses in an attempt to reflect historical schisms through the tropes of rebellious-daughter family drama.”

Empire Magazine
“The spotlight falls on another lost tradition in Kulikar Sotho’s The Last Reel, a deeply moving memoir of the golden age of Cambodian cinema that was swept away and all but eradicated by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.”

The Playlist on Indiewire
“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… affecting and gripping… a passionate cri de coeur.”

Background

The Last Reel is one of the first feature films to be directed by a Cambodian woman and is generating significant international interest. The Last Reel was shot entirely on location in Cambodia during 2013 with a cast of leading local talent, including Ma Rynet, Dy Saveth and Rous Mony. It is a Hanuman Films (www.hanumanfilms.com) production.

“A lost film buried beneath the Killing Fields reveals different versions of the truth. In an abandoned cinema, rebellious teenager Sophoun discovers an old film starring her mother, offering her the chance to dictate her own destiny at last, but at the cost of uncovering some dark secrets from the past about her parents lives during the Khmer Rouge regime.”

Forthcoming Film Festival Screenings

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
4.45pm on Saturday 25 April 2015 at the Downtown Independent, 251 So. Main Street, Los Angeles.

4.30pm on Monday 27 April 2015 at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum at JANM, 111 No. Central Avenue, Los Angeles.

Far East Film Festival, Udine
11.25am on Thursday 30 April at the Teatro Nuevo, Udine.

Bentonville Film Festival
5.30pm on Tuesday 5 May at the NWACC White Auditorium, Bentonville.

Previous Film Festival Screenings

Tokyo International Film Festival, October 2014: http://2014.tiff-jp.net/en/tiff/list_of_winners.html

Cambodia International Film Festival, December 2014: http://cambodia-iff.com/index.php/en/films/feature-films/cambodia-cinema

Singapore International Film Festival, December 2014: http://sgiff.com/

Helsinki CineAasia, March 2015: http://helsinkicineaasia.fi/2015/02/the-last-reel/

Asia House Film Festival, London, March 2015: http://asiahouse.org/arts-learning/film/asia-house-film-festival-2015/

Asean International Film Festival, Kuching, April 2015: http://www.aiffa2015.com/

Useful Links

Website
Visit The Last Reel website (www.thelastreel.info) to learn more about the film, including a fullscreen version of the trailer.

Facebook
There is also an official The Last Reel Facebook page for breaking news: The Last Reel

Online Brochure
View the online brochure at: http://www.thelastreel.info/public/documents/The%20Last%20Reel.pdf

Online Gallery
View selected stills, behind-the-scenes and awards at: http://www.thelastreel.info/en/gallery

Dragonair at Angkor Wat, the first major commercial at the temples of Angkor

Hanuman Films became the first local production company to organise a major international television commercial at the temples of Angkor with this Dragonair commercial.

Kulikar Sotho worked with Hong Kong-based Moviola Productions as Line Producer, taking responsibility for the entire production in Cambodia. Hanuman arranged all filming permissions, including the sensitive dragon dance shoot at Angkor Wat, and arranged all logistics, such as accommodation, transport and import/re-export of equipment. During the five-day shoot, Kulikar also acted as interpreter for the 15-strong production crew. The commercial covered four countries, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, but, according to the Moviola crew, it was in Cambodia that things ran most smoothly.

The Last Reel Review in The Hollywood Reporter

Industry magazine The Hollywood Reporter gave The Last Reel an excellent review after THR writer Clarence Tsui watched the movie at the Singapore International Film Festival last month.

The Last Reel

The Last Reel


“Sotho Kulikar addresses Cambodia’s cinematic peaks and historical troughs through a family drama about a young woman’s rite of passage through filmmaking

With The Last Reel, Cambodian cinema’s resurgence as a filmmaking force continues apace with, again, some help from beyond Southeast Asia – or, specifically, Australia, from which the film’s screenwriter-producer, cinematographer, editor and soundtrack composer hail. But at the helm is a Cambodian director, and at its center a distinctly local story designed to address how different generations struggle with the country’s suppressed and still unresolved Khmer Rouge-inflicted traumas.

The cultural specificity of the tale is also given a universal touch, as Sotho Kulikar – who worked on the Cambodian shoot of Hollywood films like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and a rare female filmmaker in what remains a patriarchal society – conjures remarkable performances from her lead actresses in an attempt to reflect historical schisms through the tropes of rebellious-daughter family drama.

The Last Reel could be considered the fictional-feature take on themes broached in Cambodian documentaries securing widespread acclaim on the festival circuit in the past two years. With a nod to the issues brought to prominence by established auteur Rithy Panh‘s Oscar-nominated The Missing Picture and up-and-coming archivist-cum-directorDavey Chou‘s celebration of Khmer-language cinema in Golden Slumbers, Kulikar and her screenwriter Ian Masters (who wrote of being inspired by an exhibition curated by Chou) conjured a story in which a young woman rediscovers his parents’ buried pasts through an engagement with images flickering on screens in long-abandoned picture palaces. Offering a mix of humanistic drama and a celebration of the powers of cinema, The Last Reel‘s Asian stops – first Tokyo, then Singapore, and finally at home in Phnom Penh – will definitely be just a prologue to bookings beyond its nearby shores.

The character undergoing the film’s central rite of passage is Sophoun (Ma Rynet), who begins the film as a listless young college student whiling away her time as some kind of moll of her leather-jacketed, motorbike-cradling hoodlum boyfriend Veasna (Rous Mony, star of 2012 Venice entryRuin). All this seems to be a reaction against the tyranny at home, where she’s disparaged by her decorated-soldier father (Hun Sophy), and an arranged marriage into a prominent family and books about “moral conduct for women” await.

It’s during one of her escapades with Veasna that she first discovers cracks in her family, as she wanders around the disused cinema she frequents and discovers her mother’s photograph plastered across the wall. It’s at this point that she learns of how she’s not the first rebel in the family: the meek, middle-aged woman at home was actually once a famous actress, the star of a film made none other by the unassuming caretaker of the theater-turned-garage. When told the final reel of the retained film was lost during the Khmer Rouge years,Sophoun took it on herself to try and bring that movie – and her mother – to life, an attempt which turned out to reveal much more about the anguish suffered by all the jaded elders around her.

The Last Reel is obviously Kulikar’s gesture of the need to bring Cambodia and its cultural legacy alive – not just for the benefit of those nostalgic about their good old days, but also a new generation born after the 1990s and basically unaware (and uninterested) about the Khmer civilization’s halcyon days and how it’s all swept away within four years by Pol Pot and his murderous cadres. In this sense, The Last Reel’s trump card lies in its metatexuality, of introducing young hipsters to figures they barely know: playing the mother is actually Dy Saveth, an iconic figure in Cambodian cinema in the pre-Khmer Rouge times and one of the few actors who survived the pogroms (she was out of the country when the extremists took power in 1975, and went into exile until the 1990s). Meanwhile, cast in the vanquished-filmmaker role is Sok Sothun, a real-life director who lived through the purges and went on to study cinema in Moscow in the 1990s. (The derelict cinema shown on screen is the now-abandoned Prasat Meas theater in the city of Battambang.)

The Last Reel is beautifully shot, with Bonnie Elliott’s camerawork easing the film’s gradual relocation from the neon-lit, nocturnal urban frenzy in the beginning to poignant pastoralism towards the end, as the story draws to a close with a delicate homage to the traditional aesthetics of classical Khmer culture and cinema. But this is not just about mere reconciliation or putting ghosts to rest, Masters’ screenplay also harks to how the past doesn’t just haunt but actually lingers in a cycle, as the high-brass ruling Cambodia today are revealed to have just switched uniforms back in 1979, or when the unjust measures in the social system of the past – not just among the late 1970s killing fields, but further beyond to the underbelly of Cambodia’s glorious heyday – are still peddled around as norms.

Beneath the tranquility, a simmering fury abounds – an emotion burning brightly in performances all around, ranging from Rynet and Mony’s vivacity to the veterans’ internalized anger and self-disgust. The Last Reel is more like part of a new exciting beginning than the end, one foreign-assisted step (like the Paris-based Panh and Chou, whose films are largely financed by European funds) back to the consolidation of a national cinema in Cambodia.”

Venue: Singapore International Film Festival

Production company: Hanuman Films

Cast: Ma Rynet, Rous Mony, Dy Saveth, Hun Sophy

Director: Sotho Kulikar

Screenwriter: Ian Masters

Producers: Ian Masters, Sotho Kulikar, Murray Pope

Executive producers: Lloyd Levin, Sotho Tan, Nick Ray, Chris Wheeldon

Director of photography: Bonnie Elliott

Editor: Katie Flexman

Music: Christopher Elves

Casting director: Sithorn

In Khmer

 

The Last Reel homecoming premiere at the Cambodia International Film Festival

The homecoming premiere of The Last Reel was a big success on the opening night of the Cambodia International Film Festival at Major Cineplex, Aeon Mall, Phnom Penh.

The Last Reel Premiere CIFF 2014

The Last Reel Premiere Cambodia International Film Festival 2014

Many of The Last Reel team were there to enjoy the moment, including Director Sotho Kulikar, actors Ma Rynet (Sophoun), Dy Saveth (Srey Mom/Sothea), Sok Sothun (Vichea) and Rous Mony (Veasna), Writer/Producer Ian Masters; Producer Murray Pope and many more.

Ma Rynet scooped the CIFF Talent Award 2014 reflecting her commanding performance in The Last Reel. Meanwhile some of the team from the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Japan Foundation flew in to Cambodia especially to present The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar with her engraved Spirit of Asia Award, with the Japanese Ambassador on hand to welcome them in the kingdom. Two festivals and two awards for those involved in The Last Reel, what an achievement.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith at the Last Reel Premiere CIFF 2014 Khieu Kanharith

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith at the Last Reel Premiere CIFF 2014 Khieu Kanharith

Our sincere thanks go out to everyone involved in making the Cambodia premiere a special night, including the Cambodia International Film Festival team, the organisers, the sponsors and all those who turned out in force to make it so memorable. Particular thanks to the Minister of Culture H.E. Phoeurng Sackona (pictured above with the The Last Reel team) and the Minister of Information H.E. Khieu Kanharith (pictured above) for attending the opening night. There were many other VIPs and faces from the filmmaking community there and we hope everyone enjoyed the film.

Our thanks to our supporters Sabay for some great photographs on the night and interviews will be coming soon with Sotho Kulikar and Ma Rynet. For more images from Sabay, visit their website: http://news.sabay.com.kh/article/155834

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 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.”

‘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.

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.

Stunning Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Commercial on Location at Angkor

 

Leading Hong Kong jewellery company Chow Tai Fook chose Cambodia for its latest commercial. Hanuman Films coordinated the shoot around the temples of Angkor and Siem Reap, including locations such as Ta Prohm, Bayon, Angkor Wat and the floating villages of the Tonle Sap Lake. The Hanuman team worked in partnership with Radical Media of London. Hanuman Films has worked on several previous commercials with Radical Media, including Pepsi, TUI Travel and Cisco.

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