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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

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.

“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.”

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