Hanuman Films Blog

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

Hanuman Films Facilitates the BBC Travel Show Shoot in Cambodia

Presenter Henry Golding and the Travel Show team were in Cambodia last month filming for the BBC and worked with Hanuman Films to facilitate their shoot.


 

As well as riding the new passenger trains which operate from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville via Kampot, the team also went on the rails in Battambang to try the legendary ‘Bamboo Train.

A Guide to Filming Permissions in the Kingdom of Cambodia

Read on to learn more about general filming permissions in the Kingdom of Cambodia, including the issuing authorities and the relevant location permits around the country.

Actor Joel Edgerton on set in Sihanoukville on Wish You Were Here

Actor Joel Edgerton on set in Sihanoukville on Wish You Were Here, shot in partnership with Hanuman Films

Film crews will need a general permission from either the Ministry of Information or the Ministry of Culture. As a general rule, documentaries and commercials can obtain permission from the Ministry of Information and dramas or feature films need to get permission from the Ministry of Culture. However, applying through the preferred channels can be discussed with the experienced Hanuman Films production team before moving ahead with the application process. It is possible to get the general filming permission for Cambodia organised in as little as two working weeks, but we advise scheduling up to one month, and longer still for a major feature film. We can coordinate the application process, as we have 15 years and counting of dealing with the relevant ministries, dating right back to the days of Tomb Raider in Cambodia. Hanuman Films can also arrange the temporary import/re-export of all filming-related equipment as Cambodia is not a carnet country at this time.

Heineken Dropped, a viral commercial produced in partnership with Hanuman Films (and a yellow ducky)

Heineken Dropped, a viral commercial produced in partnership with Hanuman Films (and a yellow ducky)

Film crews need to supply the following information:

• Complete crew list with full names and passport details

• Detailed equipment list, including an approximate valuation of each item

• Flight itineraries, including arrival and departure information

• Synopsis of the storyline or a treatment of the episode

• Rough schedule and locations for the planned shoot

Tomb Raider shot in Cambodia with Hanuman Films as their local partner

Tomb Raider shot in Cambodia with Hanuman Films as their local partner

Local location filming permits may be required from the local authority or landowner for some locations and these may attract their own fees. Whether or not a permit is required will depend on the location and the scale of the production. For small documentaries the main permit may suffice for most locations, but if filming any drama (especially if it includes the need for crowd control) then permits are required for most locations. For large-scale dramas it is necessary to provide a shooting schedule to the relevant local authorities.

Need an aerial view of the location? Hanuman Films has it covered.

Need an aerial view of the location? Hanuman Films has it covered.

Location fees will vary depending on the location and the scale of the production. The temples of Angkor require a filming permit via the Aspara Authority, which usually takes around two working weeks to organise, but can be run in tandem with the Ministry general filming permissions.

No government minder is required to accompany a shoot in Cambodia at this time, and the Cambodian government does not request to view the rushes before departure from the country, making the entire production process more hassle-free than more established regional players such as Thailand and Vietnam.

Exploring the old ‘Sihanouk Trail’ in Cambodia with Red Bull Media House

Hanuman recently looked after a major overland expedition for Red Bull Media House, the extreme sports specialists. For this trip they were following some competition mountain bikers, including Rebecca Rusch, the “Queen of Pain”, down the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and onwards south down the ‘Sihanouk Trail’ in Cambodia.

Red Bull Crew in Cambodia

Red Bull Crew in Cambodia

2 mountain bikes, 5 dirt bikes, 8 4WDs, this was an expedition through some of the most remote parts of Cambodia. Crossing into Cambodia at Trapeang Kriel, the crew headed northwest to Siem Pang before crossing the Sekong River and surfing through the sand to Veun Sai. After a comfortable overnight in Ban Lung, they continued south to Koh Nhek, using the old ‘Death Highway’ from Lumphat. From there, they blasted through Sen Monorom on the new road before veering off to follow the old King’s Highway through the jungles of Kaoh Seima Protected Forest, one of the most beautiful roads in Cambodia.

A homemade bridge in Northeast Cambodia

A homemade bridge in Northeast Cambodia

All of this was captured on state-of-the-art Red Epic Dragon 6K cameras, that means 9X the pixels of an HD camera or one hell of a lot of memory. It should make for an epic endurance film through some of the most remote and beautiful parts of Indochina.

Filming the Red Bull mountain bikers on the Red Epic Dragon in Cambodia

Filming the Red Bull mountain bikers on the Red Epic Dragon in Cambodia

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.

Looking Back on Tomb Raider: 15 Years After the Circus Came to Town

In the first of our retrospective look backs on shoots we have hosted in Southeast Asia, we turn the clock back 15 years to the Millennium when Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig and the Tomb Raider crew came to Angkor.

 

Tomb Raider was the first major Hollywood film to shoot in Cambodia since Peter O’Toole starred in Lord Jim in 1964. The Tomb Raider crew were all set to travel to China to film the Terracotta Army coming to life, when the sequence was pulled at the last minute, as it had already been featured in a Chinese movie. Cambodia was next on the list and Hanuman Films was chosen for scouting at Angkor. Following a successful scout with a full technical crew, Paramount British Pictures appointed Hanuman Films as their local servicing partner in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Our previous experience involved shooting the Lonely Planet TV Cambodia episode with Presenter Ian Wright and a crew of five!

Kulikar Sotho worked as Local Liason Manager, or Line Producer, arranging all filming permissions, script approval, temporary import/re-export of equipment, visas, accommodation, transport and catering for the production. Nick Ray worked as Location Manager on the film, selecting locations for the shoot, building a photographic inventory of the temples used in shooting, approving all sets or alterations to be made at each site and working with local authorities every step of the way to ensure this first sensitive shoot at Angkor passed without incident.

Hanuman Films also took responsibility for recruitment ofa large team of translators, hundreds of extras, site security and an army of labourers.

Tomb Raider premiered on June 15th 2001 at Mann’s Theatre in Los Angeles. Nick and Kulikar were both invited to the premiere and stayed with Producer Lloyd Levin.

Notable milestones passed during production included:

  1. Securing the support of the Council of Ministers for the project to go ahead, despite some high level objections;
  2. Obtaining permission to build a traditional floating village on the royal pond at Angkor Wat;
  3. Getting nine containers over the roads from hell in the middle of the wet season, taking five days for the trucks to cover just 320km;
  4. Juggling the shooting schedule around the state visit of President Jiang Zemin of China and King Norodom Sihanouk to Angkor;
  5. Arranging the safe arrival of 30 or so servicing vehicles from Thailand, another nightmare journey that required two army units to build bridges along the way.

Locations: Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm temple, Phnom Bakheng, East Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Phnom Kulen

Actors: Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig, hundreds of local extras, the temples of Angkor

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 Officially Selected For TIFF

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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

 

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/

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.

Hanuman Films teams up with Indus Films on the new BBC Mekong series

Hanuman Films worked on the new BBC Mekong series with Indus Films and presenter Sue Perkins. 

Sue Perkins snaps a shot on location on the Mekong River

Sue Perkins snaps a shot on location on the Mekong River

Indus Films of the UK was commissioned by the BBC to produce a landmark series on the Mekong River and Hanuman Films was contacted as the line production company to assist with the four-part series featuring Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China. Hanuman Films line produced the first two episodes in the series covering Vietnam and Laos and provided advice and recommendations for the third episode in Laos. Popular television presenter Sue Perkins fronted the show and for episode 1 she journeyed from Ho Chi Minh City through the Mekong Delta and into Cambodia. She visited the incredible floating market of Cai Rang and met a survivor of Tuol Sleng Prison before travelling northeast to the majestic temples of Angkor and the Tonle Sap Lake. Sue and the Indus crew spent several days living in the village of Kompong Pluk, learning about fishing techniques and local lifestyles. The great lake is the heartbeat of Cambodia and the incredible rise and fall in its water levels are intimately connected to the rise and fall of the Mekong River. The lake is known to expand to five times its normal area during the wet season, making it a vital source of fish and protein for the Cambodian population.

For episode 2, the focus moved to the wildlife in Cambodia and Sue joined a Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) organised by leading wildlife NGO Wildlife Alliance and the Cambodian government, on a wildlife bust in Koh Kong. She then travelled deep into Mondulkiri Province in the northeast of Cambodia where she visited the Elephant Valley Project (EVP) and learnt about their ecotourism initiatives to protect retired working elephants. In Kratie Province, she encountered rare freshwater dolphins in the Mekong River, as well as the rare Cantor’s Turtle. Finally the team travelled up to Ratanakiri to meet the minority people of this remote province and learn how dams and deforestation might affect their lives as the region develops.

Filming has now wrapped on this new mini-series and it will be screened on the BBC later in 2014.

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