CTFF 2018: Opening Ceremony, Film Screenings and the Return of Angelina Jolie!

Our CTFF 2018 Open Remark Speaker: ELLEN WONG

Ellen Wong is an internationally acclaimed, SAG and ACTRA award nominated actress from Toronto, Canada. Her career began after a global casting search landed her the breakout role of Knives Chau in Universal Studios’ cult classic Scott Pilgrim VS The World. Ellen is currently playing Jenny Chey (aka Fortune Cookie) on Netflix’s Golden Globe and Emmy Nominated show GLOW, which hails from executive producer Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black). Ellen has been cast in numerous other TV shows and films, including her starring role as “Jill Chen” on CW’s Carrie Diaries, along with a recent turn in Audience Network’s Condor. Most recently, Ellen headlined the independent Cambodian film In The Life of Music, which won the Audience Award at the L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival. Ellen is currently an Ambassador for TIFF’s Share Her Journey, a campaign dedicated to fighting for gender equality in the film and television industry. She also a Committee Member of the Cambodia Town Film Festival and The Haing S. Ngor Foundation

CTFF 2018 Blessing Dance: KHMER ARTS ACADEMY

Khmer Arts Academy is dedicated to fostering the vitality of Cambodian dance and music across borders. A natural extension of the work of its founding artistic director, Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, the organization sees itself as a nexus of arts and culture in a transnational community that is endowed with wonderful traditions and that is looking for ways of using those traditions to improve its quality of life. Through its numerous programs, it seeks to create a continuum of recruitment, training, research, outreach, creation and performance that develops accomplished artists, compelling works of art and diverse, informed audiences.

ANGELINA JOLIE made another surprise return to CTFF. Last year, 2017, Angelina Jolie, Loung Ung and Rithy Panh attended the West Coast Premiere of their film ‘First They Killed My Father’, at CTFF.

“We are a Cambodian family and very proud of it. For those of you who are the first time, welcome to our family. And this is the 6th year. And its so exciting and every year there is more and more talent and I’ve watched the Short Films and I’m really just proud. Cambodia is extraordinary country, extraordinary people and extraordinary arts and artist are coming forward and I’m so excited to all that you do and always so proud in anyway to be part of your community. And I hope you have a wonderful festival and I look forward to your coming work and next year and for all the artist out there, please keep doing everything that you are doing, its remarkable and inspiring, and we love you” – Angelina Jolie 

Angelina Jolie with Ellen Wong and our co-founder, co-director praCh Ly.

Q&A with the incredible filmmakers of our Short Film Corners.

Indradevi – ‘Idols’
Director: Gregory Cahill
A mysterious late-night phone call triggers a rescue mission into a demonic underworld.

Wash it! (Leang Sam Art!)
Director: Darren TealeSuzanne James
Leang Sam Art (Wash It!) is an original music track and video by WaterAid Cambodia, Epic Arts and Junction 15 Productions to transform the hygiene and hand washing behaviors of Cambodians and revolutionize health in Cambodia.

Director: Sokharo Hang
An authentic story about the memories of a Cambodian dancer confronting her past as a child who obsesses with classical dance

Year Zero Film
Director: David Siev
When the Khmer Rouge regime seized Cambodia in 1975, the country plunged into civil war and was ravaged by mass killings, torture, and famine. The Khmer soldiers were cold and ruthless, fully embodying Pol Pot’s philosophy towards the common people: “to kill you is no loss, to keep you is no benefit.” Faced with hunger and starvation, two brothers risk everything to ensure their survival, even with the odds stacked against them.

Palm Tree
Director: Pov Pisest, Suong Rotha
Daro is a young man of 20 years old. He comes from a poor family in Kampong Speu province. His father collects fruits on palm trees. After he graduated from high school in Kampong Speu, he gets a scholarship to study in Phnom Penh. There, he decides to hide his poor family situation.

Director: Kate-Marie Engberg
When Sothea witnesses corruption at work, she has to decide morally and financially how to proceed. Will she be complicit or risk her job and security? This story leads us into one thread in the tapestry of modern-day Phnom Penh.

The Morning After short film
Director: Leanne Mangan
An Aussie backpacker wakes in a Cambodian rice field, with no memory of the night before. Who does he believe? What has he forgotten?

Director: Kalyanee Mam
As Singapore dredges sand out from beneath Cambodia’s mangrove forests, an ecosystem, a communal way of life, and one woman’s relationship to her beloved home are faced with the threat of erasure.

Khmer Alumni Association representative, Rithy Hanh and Hunny Hach introducing LETTERS FROM HOME.

Khmer Alumni Association mission is to promote the empowerment, success, and sustained engagement of alumni from Khmer student organizations as well as professionals in the Cambodian American community. They achieve their mission by implementing programs that support three areas of focus: alumni networking, Khmer student organization involvement, and community support.

Kalean Ung preforming a Live One Women show of LETTERS FROM HOME.

LETTERS FROM HOME marks the most personal reveal/presentation that writer/actress/singer Kalean Ung has ever undertaken. Based on her family history in Cambodia, specifically during the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s, Kalean explores her relatives’ struggles and eventual rescue, while also describing her own experiences of growing up bi-racial and first generation in Southern California. Kalean most graciously and quickly responded to my probing inquiries.

Dream Beyond Foundation founder, Nancy Lee (center) moderated the Q&A with the filmmakers of ‘THE WITCH

Making its U.S. Premiere, THE WITCH or ‘Thmob’ is a Khmer movie based on a folk tale about a sorceress in the past century. It is filled with tales of black magic where the witch casts spells to either make people sick or kill them. The plot is centred around a tycoon, called Raj, his wife named Tep Leak who is pregnant, and their two children. The period is based in the Longvek era.

Director, Producer: ហ៊ុយ យ៉ាឡេង
Cinematography: OUL Chamroeun
Stars: Huy Yaleng, Hin ChannirothDara ChanVen Vannak
Country: Cambodia
Language: Khmer with English subtitles
Feature Film: 80mins

Dr. Christine Su moderated the Q&A with the filmmakers of ‘RISKING LIGHT‘.

RISKING LIGHT is a thought-provoking documentary that explores resilience, and the painful process of moving from grief to compassion and forgiveness. Through the unforgettable stories of Mary Johnson, who grieves a murdered son; Debra Hocking, a victim of government-sanctioned genocide; and Kilong Ung, who survived the terror of the Khmer Rouge, RISKING LIGHT challenges us to examine our own beliefs about forgiveness and ask “What would the world look like if we could learn to forgive one another?”

Executive Producer/Director: Dawn Mikkelson
Cinematographers: Matt Ehling, Jesse Roesler, Russell Hawkins, and Emma Paine
Producer: Miranda Wilson
Documentary: 1hr 27mins
Country: United States
Official Website: www.riskinglight.com

Cambodia Town Inc. representative Sithea San, speaking about Cambodia Town Inc, and introducing The Joy Luck Club. 

This year mark the 25 Year Anniversary of The Joy Luck Club. It was released in theaters in 1993. Cambodia Town Film Festival (CTFF) is celebrating it by having a FREE Screening!

* * * The Joy Luck Club is one of the first all Asian ensemble film to be produced by a mayor Hollywood studio * * *

The Joy Luck Club is a 1993 American drama film about the relationships between Chinese-American women and their Chinese mothers. It was directed by Wayne Wang and stars Ming-Na Wen, Rosalind Chao, Lauren Tom, Tamlyn Tomita, France Nguyen, Kieu Chinh, Lisa Lu, and Tsai Chin. The film is based on the eponymous 1989 novel by Amy Tan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ronald Bass. The film was produced by Bass, Tan, Wang and Patrick Markey while Oliver Stone served as an executive producer. Four older women, all Chinese immigrants living in San Francisco, meet regularly to play mahjong, eat, and tell stories. Each of these women has an adult Chinese-American daughter. The film reveals the hidden pasts of the older women and their daughters and how their lives are shaped by the clash of Chinese and American cultures as they strive to understand their family bonds and one another.

CTFF Closing After Party at ASHLEY’S ON 4TH.  2018, its a WRAP!