The Cambodian Film Festival Is Back with Selections Mixing Entertainment and Information

Chea Sopheap (R), executive director of the Bophana Center, said during a press conference on June 15 that the 11th film festival will bring not only entertainment to the audience but also information regarding Planet Earth, the environment, rivers, culture and languages, which are featured in the films. Photo Cambodia International Film Festival facebook

The program includes films on environmental issues

PHNOM PENH–The 11th edition of the Cambodia International Film Festival (CIFF) will soon return to Cambodia with 144 films from 26 different countries, including short films, feature films, documentaries and animated films after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

From June 28 to July 3, the 11th CIFF will hold more than 160 screenings and free gatherings at major cinemas and other great venues in Phnom Penh, including the Legend Cinema, Major Cineplex and Prime Cineplex, the French Institute, the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center, the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the Rosewood Hotel, and Java Creative Cafe.

Chea Sopheap, executive director of the Bophana Center, said during a press conference on June 15 that the 11th film festival will bring not only entertainment to the audience but also information regarding Planet Earth, the environment, rivers, culture and languages, which are featured in the films.

The design of the logo for this year’s festival is meant to show the resilience of Cambodia that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years. It also reflects the endurance of people in the country who, during the outbreak, still put out the best in their work, Sopheap said.

The logo shows peace that is essential for all human beings living in this world, he added. “It is the artwork that shows the idea of artists who love peace and nature,” Sopheap said during the press conference.

International award-winning films shown during the festival will include Neang Kavich's White Building that received the Special Selection award at the Venice Film Festival in Italy in September 2021, Rithy Panh's "Everything Will Be OK,” which won an award at the Berlin International Film Festival  in 2022, and his film Irradiated”” that was awarded Best Documentary at the 2020 Berlinale in Germany.

Documentaries will include the ANGKOR: THE LOST EMPIRE of Australian director Murray Pope presented in IMAX 3D. As Cambodia and Australia are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries this year, a rare panorama of 16 Australian feature films spanning 1953 to 2022 will be screened during the festival.

Australian Ambassador Pablo Kang said at the press conference that Australia is supporting the CIFF this year as in 2020 although that festival could not take place. He added that Australia and Cambodia are celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations this year. “We wish to preserve and share Australia’s vibrant and diverse culture of filmmaking and hopefully reflect who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. So, we are really proud of the 11th film festival,” Kang said during the press conference.

The festival program will include a Beautiful Planet program focusing on environmental education and climate change, putting the emphasis this year on Mekong Discovery” and “Indigenous Voices,” Cedric Eloy, CIFF director, said at the press conference. “Because understanding the issues is crucial for us to shift our ways and save the biodiversity that our “humankind needs to survive on this beautiful planet,” he said.

More than 45 films about community and education will be presented by young Cambodian directors who documented the challenges faced across the Mekong River region. More than 10 films will focus on wildlife and biodiversity, while more than 20 other films will be about indigenous people. Among films on the festival’s program, 35 films speak of Cambodian communities and more than 10 others are from Southeast Asian countries.

The 11th edition of the Cambodia International Film Festival is supported by Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

During the press conference, Ek Buntha, deputy director-general of the ministry, said that the film industry is a major component of the cultural sector as it plays a vital role to show Cambodian culture, the country’s identity, history, colors and religions to the world, as well as connect people.

“The government has paid attention to and promoted this industry,” he said. “We always work together to improve the industry and provide training to develop the industry.”

Buntha went on to say that filmmaking is an exciting process as all sectors must get involved to bring into existence one film that reflects every corner of society. The industry’s young, talented Cambodian directors or actors are important, he said. “You have the duty to transfer, to share [your knowledge] to the world,” said Buntha. “[If] [w]e go together, we can live for long [time].”

Cambodian filmmaker Lomorpich Rithy said that the film industry is important for people as everyone has a story to tell, and filmmakers can make it all possible by depicting those moments with sentiments that will be felt by the audience. When she still was a student, the festival captured her heart, she said.

Through it, she learned about the types of films and the opportunity offered to young, aspiring filmmakers.

Lomorpich submitted her first film during the Chaktomuk Short Film Festival in the 2010s. Then in 2019, she was able to produce her own film entitled “Young Love,” which was screened at the CIFF.

“You never know what that means when you are sitting in cinemas, coming to festivals, meeting people, getting to see different kinds of content and materials,” she said. “Festivals are a place where we can discover different stories.”

Admission for the 11th Cambodia International Film Festival is free on a first come first served basis. Tickets are available one hour before each screening at CIFF counters on site. 

The detailed program, schedule, and information on events and special guests will be released online at and 

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