The buzz begins
|Actress Dy Saveth will appear in The Last Reel|
Cambodia's Last Reel set to unspool - by Patrick Frater (Film Business Asia)
Production is set to start on The Last Reel, one of the most ambitious Cambodian films made in recent years – and one which recalls the "Golden Age" of Khmer cinema. Pre-production has now begun on the drama about a woman struggling to find the missing finale of a 1974 hit melodrama and show it to her dying mother. Director Kulikar Sotho will shoot a teaser trailer and promotional materials this month ahead of principal photography in April. Sotho's Hanuman Productions, the largest locations services company in the Cambodian film industry (Tomb Raider), will produce on a budget of $400,000. The screenplay is by Ian Masters, who is also set as co-producer.
Funding is expected to come from local private equity sources. Producers are also able to count on distribution by local firms Sabay and Westec, the property giant that is the leading cinema operator and distributor in Cambodia. Sabay and its partner Raam Punjabi's Multivision Plus have a first look option to handle the release in seven South East Asian territories. The Last Reel will feature Dy Saveth (pictured above), a former beauty queen and one of the biggest stars of the pre-Khmer Rouge film industry in Cambodia, in the role of the mother. The producers are in advanced talks to sign experienced international crew to the picture. These include production designer Andrew Sanders (Lee Ang's Sense and Sensibility) and Duncan Telford as DoP and Paul Smith (Dengue Fever) as the composer.
Between 1965 and 1975 Cambodia produced over 300 feature films were produced in Cambodia. It was the golden age of Khmer cinema. But only around 30 of those films survive. Some were highlighted in Golden Slumbers, Davy Chou's pioneering documentary which played in Busan in 2011 and in Berlin last year. "The Last Reel recalls a past that Cambodians can be proud of and inspired by, whilst at the same time, looking to the future for a revival of Cambodian cinema," said Masters. "It places contemporary problems in Cambodia against nostalgic recollections of the golden age and finds a way for both of them to co-exist. It's a rallying call not to sever the past, bulldoze the old, but revalue them for today's commercial world."