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OLD GHOSTS, NEW DREAMS Cambodia Program Set for Film Society of Lincoln Center, Now thru 4/25


The Film Society of Lincoln Center previously announced Old Ghosts, New Dreams: The Emerging Cambodian Cinema (today, April 19-25). To be presented in conjunction with the citywide Season of Cambodia arts festival, FSLC will team with the great documentarian Rithy Panh to screen a fascinating survey of films from Cambodia.

FSLC Executive Director Rose Kuo said, "This program of films reveal a Cambodia few have actually seen, from the heartbreaking truths and legacy of the Khmer Rouge as well as the Cambodian people who survived that struggle to both endure and maintain their culture - all documented and told through the camera lens."

Among the films screened as part of Old Ghosts, New Dreams: The Emerging Cambodian Cinema will be an exploration of the work of Rithy Panh, led by his documentary, S21: THE KHMER ROUGE DEATH MACHINE (2002), a startling journey back to the notorious Tuol Sleng prison (code-named "S21"), which was converted into a genocide museum, and DUCH, MASTER OF THE FORGES OF HELL (2012), his more recent uncompromising character study of about the first leader of the Khmer Rouge organization to be brought before an international criminal justice court.

Other highlights of the week-long film series will be Davy Chou's GOLDEN SLUMBERS, a moving investigation of Cambodia's lost cinematic heritage with first-hand accounts of the emergence and flourishing of Cambodian cinema with filmmakers at the forefront of creating the films that chronicled life in Cambodia from the 60s through the 70s. The documentary, A RIVER CHANGES COURSE is the feature directorial debut of Kalyanee Mam, the cinematographer for the Academy Award-winning documentary INSIDE JOB. The film which won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize 2013 at the Sundance Film Festival, looks at the damage that rapid development has wrought on Cambodia's land and people. Anne Bass's uplifting documentary DANCING ACROSS BORDERS (2011), follows the journey a young man's dancing talent took him - from the countryside of Cambodia to the halls of New York's School of American Ballet to the stage of the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle.

Season of Cambodia, a special initiative of Cambodian Living Arts in partnership with Cambodia's leading arts organizations and New York's most vibrant cultural and academic institutions, will bring more than 125 performing and visual artists to New York City's stages, screens, galleries and public spaces, creating a broad and dynamic platform for Cambodia's cultural treasures to be shared with an international audience. Season of Cambodia will be a celebration of the living arts - of the people and practices that make up our cultural fabric.

Season of Cambodia is co-chaired by Anne H. Bass, John Burt, and Darren Walker.Support for the Season of Cambodia Film program is provided by the Hotel Sofitel New York and Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Additional institutional lead support for the Festival comes from the Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Fresh Sound Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Asian Cultural Council, The Kaplen Foundation, Openbox Inc., EVA Air, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, Sofitel NY and Henry Luce Foundation.

All screenings will take place in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam). Tickets are on sale at the Film Society's box offices; and online at Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. Visit for complete information.

Films, Descriptions & Schedule:

Director: Anne Bass
Country: USA
On a trip to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia in January 2000, filmmaker Anne Bass came across a sixteen-year-old boy who moved her immensely with his amazing natural charm and grace as a dancer. A longtime devotee of the world of dance, Bass felt compelled to give this young boy the opportunity to leave his home and follow a dream that he could not yet have fully imagined. From the serene countryside of Cambodia to the halls of New York's School of American Ballet to the stage of the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, DANCING ACROSS BORDERS peeks behind the scenes into the world of dance and chronicles the intimate and triumphant story of a boy who was discovered, and who only much later discovered all that he had in himself.
Screens Saturday, April 20

Director: Rithy Panh
Countries: France/Cambodia
Between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime caused the death of some 1.8 million people. Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, was in charge at M13 for four years before being appointed to the S21 centre in Phnom Penh where 12,280 people perished, according to the remaining archives. The first leader of the Khmer Rouge organization to be brought before an international criminal justice court, Rithy Panh records Duch's unadorned words, without any trimmings, in the isolation of a face-to-face encounter. At the same time, he places it into perspective with archive pictures and eyewitness accounts of survivors. As the narrative unfolds, the infernal machine of a system of destruction of humanity implacably emerges, through a manic description of the minutiae of its mechanisms.
Screens Sunday, April 21 and Wednesday, April 24
Screening on Sunday, April 21 includes intro and Q&A with director Rithy Panh

FIVE LIVES (2010) 93min
Directors: Various
Country: Cambodia
Five young Cambodian directors follow five lives in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. The films were produced during a documentary workshop led by world acclaimed director Rithy Panh.
Screens Thursday, April 23

Films include:
I CAN BE WHO I AM by Sarin Chhoun
A PEDAL MAN by Katank Yos,
A SCALE BOY by Kavich Neang

GOLDEN SLUMBERS (Le Sommeil d'Or) (2011) 96min
Director: Davy Chou
Countries: France/Cambodia
Davy Chou's moving investigation of Cambodia's lost cinematic heritage is an oral history with first-hand accounts of the emergence and flourishing of that country's cinema in the 60's as described by directors Lu Bun Yim, Ly You Sreang, former actress Dy Saveth, (the first Cambodian movie star, who now makes her living as a dance teacher), and two middle-aged Cambodian cinephiles who wax lyrical at a café about the glory years. The interviews are interspersed with visits to former Phnom Penh movie theaters that have been converted into Karaoke clubs and restaurants,
Screens Thursday, April 25

THE LAND OF THE WANDERING SOULS (La terre des ames errantes) (1999) 143min
Director: Rithy Panh
Countries: France/Cambodia
The documentary follows a group of workers who are laying a high-tech fiber optic cable that will link Cambodia to the rest of Asia and Europe. The project is a hopeful symbol of the country's slow integration into the world community and the modern technological age. However, for the people employed to actually dig the trench by hand -- a group of rice farmers, ex-soldiers, and their families, the poorest of the poor -- the work is a mixed blessing. This film provides a haunting glimpse into the lives of these indigent workers as they encounter the painful remnants of the past - mines, bones, and a landscaped littered with human suffering - and labor to bring Cambodia into the modern age.
Screens Saturday, April 20
Screening includes intro and Q&A with director Rithy Panh

THE LAST REFUGE (2013) 55min
Directors: Anne-Laure Porée and Guillaume Soun
Country: Cambodia
THE LAST REFUGE follows the resistance of the Bunong, who have been living for centuries of the hills of eastern Cambodia, confronting alienation and annihilation by foreign companies who steal their lands, clear their sacred forests and their traditional cemeteries in order to cultivate rubber plants. In early 2010, a group of "resistants" took refuge on the land of their ancestors in the heart of the forest and recreated a field out of respect for traditional Bunong values.
Screens Tuesday, April 23

RED WEDDING (2012) 58min
Directors: Noces Rouges, Lida Chan and Guillaume Soun
Country: Cambodia
The winner of the Best Mid-Length Documentary award at last year's prestigious International Documentaries Film Festival Amsterdam, Red Wedding is the story of Sochan Pen, who has kept a terrible secret for over 30 years: that she was forced to marry a much older man, a soldier, by the Khmer Rouge at the age of 16 and then raped and beaten on her wedding night before she escaped. Four decades later, Sochan, who now grows rice in a former killing field (where decomposed bodies are still unearthed), brings her complaint to the UN-sanctioned Khmer Rouge Tribunal. In so doing, she speaks up for the 4000+ women who suffered similar fates during the regime and lived their lives in shame and terror. Produced by Rithy Panh.
Screens Monday, April 22

Director: Kalyanee Mam
Country: Cambodia
Devastating scars are etched into the red earth as Sav Samourn ponders the future for her family in the deep jungles of Cambodia. Tumultuous waves pound against Sari Math's boat as he navigates through waters being fished to extinction. The sewing machine taps and hums beneath Khieu Mok's delicate fingers as she struggles to make money to pay off her family's mounting debt. Against this backdrop A RIVER CHANGES COURSE is a cinematically spectacular and sensory journey into the lives of three young Cambodians and their families and an immersion into a world both distinctive and familiar. In her feature directorial debut, Kalyanee Mam, the cinematographer for the Academy Award-winning documentary INSIDE JOB, explores the damage rapid development has wrought in her native Cambodia on both a human and environmental level. Rural communities, used to reaping the bounty of their mountainous jungles and lush rivers, have witnessed their forests being cleared, land becoming scarce and costly, and fishing stocks rapidly depleting. No longer able to provide for their families, and often accruing massive debt as a result, many Cambodians have been forced to leave their rural lives behind to seek employment in the industrial factories of Phnom Penh.
Screens Friday, April 19

Director: Rithy Panh
Countries: France/Cambodia
In S21, Rithy Panh brings two survivors and former members of the Khmer Rouge back to the notorious Tuol Sleng prison (code-named "S21"), now a genocide museum. Painter Vann Nath confronts his former captors in the converted schoolhouse where he was tortured. It was by chance that he escaped that fate that most of the prison's 17,000 men, women, and children suffered. The "crimes" of these prisoners were meticulously documented to justify their execution. The former Khmer Rouge guards respond to Nath's provocations with excuses, chilling stoicism or apparent remorse as they recount the atrocities they committed at ages as young as 12 years.
Screens Sunday, April 21 and Wednesday, April 24
Screening on Sunday, April 21 includes intro and Q&A with director Rithy Panh

WHERE I GO (2012) 55min
Director: Neang Kavich
Country: Cambodia
San Pattica is a mixed Cambodian-Cameroonian son whose father came to work in Cambodia in 1992-1993, during a period of the first election in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge regime collapsed. Since his parents left home for many years, Pattica was raised by his grandmother. However, she was forced to bring Pattica to study and live in an orphanage in Phnom Penh and Pattica was inspired to learn about his own identity by the discrimination he faced from day-to-day.
Screens Monday, April 22
Screening will include intro and Q&A with director Neang Kavich

Shorts Program (82min):

Director: Yann Cantais
Country: Cambodia
A delicate evocation of village life, shot in black and white. Children play, adults work, drink and prepare meals, while a grandfather silently sits on his porch and remembers the terrors of the past.

PAULINA (2012) 30min
Director: Caylee So
Country: USA
17-year-old Paulina has found herself attracted to the game of bets and wagers; a love understood and shared by her father and a community of Cambodian gamblers. Met with strong disapproval from her sister Sopheap, Paulina remains tied to the community. But soon she finds herself in the midst of her father's war with addiction, and the realities of this world is unmasked; Paulina must choose between the world she is drawn to and the life she might someday want.

SAMSARA (1989) 29min
Director: Ellen Bruno
Country: USA
This meditative, quietly urgent study of common life in Cambodia in the aftermath of Pol Pot was the first film from documentarian Ellen Bruno (SATYA - A PRAYER FOR THE ENEMY, SKY BURIAL), who served as a relief worker in Southeast Asia before studying film at Stanford. SAMSURA, shot in 16mm by cinematographer Ellen Kuras, was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2012.

Director: Sopheak Sao
Country: Cambodia
The latest documentary shory from filmmaker Sopheak Sao is about Soth Yun and Sem Eang, two women who met during the Khmer Rouge regime and fell in love. Their bond has survived years of forced separation, first by the government and then by their families, and an ongoing struggle for respect within the community of Takeo in southern Cambodia. Screened in the Panorama section of this year's Berlin International Film Festival.

Public Screening Schedule:

Screening Venue:
The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 West 65 Street, between Broadway & Amsterdam

Friday, April 19

Saturday, April 20
(with intro and Q&A with director Rithy Panh)

Sunday, April 21
4:00PM Shorts Program (82min)
(with intro and Q&A with director Rithy Panh)
(with intro and Q&A with director Rithy Panh)

Monday, April 22
7:30PM RED WEDDING (58min)
9:00PM WHERE I GO (55min)
(with intro and Q&A with director Neang Kavich)

Tuesday, April 23
7:30PM FIVE LIVES (93min)
9:30PM THE LAST REFUGE (55min)

Wednesday, April 24

Thursday, April 25

Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center works to recognize and support new directors, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of film. Among its yearly programming of film festivals, film series and special events, the Film Society presents two film festivals in particular that annually attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, which just celebrated its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award-now named "The Chaplin Award"-to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Sidney Poitier. FSLC presents its year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational and transmedia programs and specialty film releases at the famous Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. For more information, visit and follow #filmlinc on Twitter.

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