A Change of Guard

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Monday, 17 October 2011

[French-Cambodian film] Golden Slumbers misses out at Busan

Monday, 17 October 2011
Peter Olszewski
Photo by: Photo Supplied
A still from French-Cambodia film Golden Slumbers.

2011 Busan Film Festival winners

New Currents Award
Mourning - Morteza Farshbaf (Iran)
Niño - Loy Arcenas (Philippines)

Flash Forward Award
La-Bas. A Criminal Education - Guido Lombardi (Italy)

Sonje Award for Short Films
Thug Beram - Venkat Amudhan (India)
See You Tomorrow - Lee Woo-ju (Korea)

BIFF Mecenat Award for Documentaries
Sea of Butterfly - Park Bae-il (Korea)

KNN Movie Award
Watch Indian Circus - Mangesh Hadawale (India)

FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Award
Mourning – Morteza Farshbaf (Iran)
NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award
The King of Pigs – Yeun Sang Ho (Korea)

Busan Cinephile Award
The Twin - Gustav Danielsson (Sweden)

Citizen Reviewers’ Award
Jesus Hospital - Lee Sangcheol and Shin Aga (Korea)
A Fish - Park Hong-Min (Korea)
Phnom Penh Post

The 16th Busan International Film Festival held in Korea closed on Friday with awards handed out to winning films in several categories and, perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of winners were Korean productions.

Unfortunately, the French-Cambodia production, Golden Slumbers, aka Le Sommeil d’or, which had been selected in the documentary competition, did not win an award.

But overall the exposure the film gained during the run of the festival was a big win in itself.

And it was also a big win for the 28-year-old French-Cambodian director, Davy Chou, whose grandfather Van Chann was a film producer in the 1960s and ’70s, when the Cambodian film industry thrived.

Essentially the film is a documentary about this golden age of Cambodian cinema, and indeed features some still-living luminaries of that era such as the Kingdom’s “first screen goddess,” Dy Saveth, who talks about her marvellous feat of starring in about 100 movies.

Golden Slumbers is a Vycky Films, Araucania Films/Bophana production, with the participation of Cinecinema, with the support of the National Center of Cinematography and the Moving Image, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia, Ministry of Information of Cambodia, Cambodia Film Commission, Procirep, Asian Network of Documentary, Culturesfrance Louis Lumiere, Touscoprod, Scam, Region Rhone-Alpes,, and Cinaps TV.

It was produced by Jacky Goldberg with co-producers the well-known Rithy Panh, Chhel Chamrong.

The documentary received widespread international media coverage following its screening in Busan, with wire agencies such as AFP covering it.

One of the highlights of the far-reaching coverage was a review in Variety on October 13 which stated, “Golden Slumbers is an elegantly assembled and deeply moving remembrance of Cambodian cinema, which shone brightly from 1960 to 1975 with more than 400 productions before the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime destroyed almost every film and executed most of the country’s creative community.

“Framed around the illuminating and frequently heartbreaking testimony of surviving industry figures, the docu reps an auspicious feature-length debut for young French-Cambodian helmer Davy Chou. A long fest life is indicated, and niche broadcasters should snap it up.”

Variety added, “Using stills, lobby cards and old radio promo spots, the docu opens with a vivid picture of how the Cambodian film industry sprang up virtually overnight during the administration of prime minister King Father Norodom Sihanouk, an enthusiastic patron of the arts and feature filmmaker. “Sohong Stehlin, the daughter of Vann Chan and aunt of helmer Chou, eloquently remembers appearing in her father’s first production in 1964 and returning to Phnom Penh in 1979, where only 15 photos remained from his 11 years of nonstop moviemaking.”

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