“Let’s Document Cambodia” (LDC) (Tos Thort Ekasar! – តោះថតឯកសារនៅកម្ពុជា!) simply calls for joint action to Cambodian citizens/activists to document whatever they find meaningful and informative to the outside world, without fear and bias. In order to get involved in these activities, they are going to be empowered through our training and workshops in making documentaries on freedom of expression and access to information, and within a free, open and encouraging framework.
This project has evolved through the following activities from year to year:
- Provincial Documentary Workshops targeted 04 provinces in Cambodia: Siem Reap, Battambang, Kep, Kampot.
- Docu FilmCamp (DFC / Chumrum Ekasar – ជំរំឯកសារ) gathered 30 trainees attend a series of filmmaking lectures making their own short documentaries in Phnom Penh.
As a result, both activities has trained over 100 Cambodian youth and produced 13 documentaries, highlighting varied issues from impact of information to environmental effects.
We continued to equip our alumni with additional editing skills, in a course conducted in Phnom Penh. This follow-up training was attended by a dozen trainees from 2019. And the rest of the year was disrupted with COVID19 outbreaks in the entire Kingdom.
We attempted to cover more provinces and reach out to as vulnerable groups as indigenous people in Ratanakiri and Kratie. Although our plan was to conduct another series of Docu-FilmCamps in those provinces, only the first one took plane in February as planned. The pandemic affected again our implementation, resulting in a six-month hiatus. Yet, in the mean time, we provided online refresher courses to our Ratanakiri alumni.
Only in November did we manage to complete our yearly activities with another Camp in Kratie. Both Camps trained about 30 participants, half of whom are indigenous and the second half work in IP-related NGOs. By the year end, we produced another eight documentaries with topics such as Kreung ethnic group gongs and wildlife preservation.
This year, we are scaling up our training with another activity called “Docu Colab”. Our aim is to advance the technical skills of our 2021 alumni to become semi-professionals in documentary skills. After which, they could go back to the communities and serve them with their improved media skills OR be recruited by SFO or its partners in Phnom Penh to pursue their film careers.
Six indigenous fellows from Ratanakiri, Kratie and Kampong Thom, are now being trained in Phnom Penh for three months (May to June). In this period, they will be engaged in the following immersive steps:
- Training in documentary storytelling and editing techniques
- Scouting on site for specific topics and protagonists
- Docu Cine-Club to watch and discuss other documentaries
- Shooting of the actual documentaries with support by technical experts
- Editing of their own documentaries
- Visits to film institutions based in Phnom Penh
- Other activities assigned by SFO/SFA.
Note: In May and June, we are going to screen 2021 documentaries back in Ratanakiri and Kratie. August will see us screening the same content, plus the three newly produced documentaries under Docu Colab. This will also stand a chance to be officially premiered within the upcoming Chaktomuk Short Film Festival (October 2022).