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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

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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

 

The Last Reel trailer is live on the Hanuman Films Youtube Channel

It has been a long road to get to this point in time, but we are extremely excited to announce that The Last Reel trailer is now live on the Hanuman Films Youtube channel, clocking in at 1m 45s.



The Last Reel is the most significant independent feature film to come out of Cambodia in a generation. 2014 has already seen the success of Cambodia’s first Oscar-nominated film, Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture. The Last Reel is the directorial debut of Kulikar Sotho, based on a script by Ian Masters. The film was shot entirely on location in Cambodia during 2013 with a cast of leading local talent. Onboard as Executive Producer is Lloyd Levin, Producer of major Hollywood films such as Tomb Raider, Boogie Nights, Green Zone and United 93.


“There are many versions of the truth and between them lie the source for a thousand stories.” 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.


The Last Reel exposes the legacy of civil war and genocide and the shadow this violence has cast over subsequent generations. The trauma may have only been experienced by those who lived through the dark years of Khmer Rouge rule, but the impact of the living nightmare has been passed on to the next generation. Almost nobody talks about the past, almost nobody has dealt with their past, but have chosen to suppress or ignore it as a coping mechanism to deal with the pain. However, this suppression of raw emotion comes at a cost and affects the behaviour of an entire older generation in their everyday lives. In trying to protect the next generation by concealing a painful past, many parents have in fact damaged the next generation instead by not allowing themselves to heal. It is hoped that The Last Reel will play its part in a long overdue healing process in Cambodia by encouraging generations old and young to talk more openly about the past. The ghosts of the past are not easily buried and will continue to haunt a generation unless they are able to give a voice to the victims and their own suffering.


Before coming onboard as Executive Producer, Lloyd Levin had this to say about The Last Reel in November 2013: “I’m overwhelmed. It’s magnificent. It’s beautifully shot. Acting and writing is terrific. Just beautifully made from top to bottom. This is such a sophisticated film thematically I can’t believe it was directed by a first time director. The way it weaves regret, remorse, joy, love, guilt, redemption, politics with the past and present. I was moved by the sentiment that movies can be the thing that can bring together disparate people – political enemies, oppressors and their victims, fathers and daughters – despite everyone’s different version of the truth.  And the idea that a movie can be just as, if not more real, than reality, and can become our reality, is truly sublime. That’s a beautiful idea and The Last Reel is a wonderful movie.”


The Last Reel will premiere later this year. To learn more about the film and those involved, view or download the official film brochure at: hanumanfilms.com/images/last-reel/The-Last-Reel-Brochure.pdf 


People who have travelled to Cambodia will be touched by this movie and find a deeper level of understanding of this complex country, its traumatic history and how the past continues to cast a shadow over contemporary life today. Please share this trailer with your friends and family, your colleagues and partners, those who have travelled to Cambodia, lived in Cambodia or have an association with Cambodia. This film combines a snapshot of life in Cambodia today together with a lost world that came before, including the golden years of filmmaking in the kingdom before the dark shadow of the Khmer Rouge fell upon the land. More than 300 films were made before Pol Pot came to power, but only around 30 of them survived the destruction. Actors, artists, songwriters and directors were specifically targeted by the Khmer Rouge and many perished. The Last Reel is dedicated to their memory.


There is also a standard format version of the trailer on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlCLmV2N_5o


Many thanks for watching and helping to support The Last Reel as it approaches its worldwide premiere.

Behind the Scenes in the Sound Recording Studio on The Last Reel

Go behind the scenes on The Last Reel with this exclusive look at some of the soundtrack recording in Phnom Penh late last year.

Composer Christopher Elves and Director Kulikar Sotho teamed up with the Chamroeun sisters, Sophea and Sophek, from popular local band Krom to record the haunting melody for The Long Way Home, the film within the film that forms an integral part of The Last Reel.

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