Forests, Water, Life – Update

Just to update the situation of my recent film being broadcast nationally. Sadly it seems an incredibly stupid article in the Phnom Penh Post was responsible for this not happening as expected. According to CTN the film is now with the Ministry of the Interior awaiting approval. To be honest I do not expect to hear back from them.

So what to do?

Over the past few days I have distributed some 200+ DVD’s to 22 organisations and a number of individuals, including lecturers from 2 of Phnom Penh’s universities who contacted me. They are currently trying to persuade their respective deans to allow them to show the film to students. With the holidays over I expect to distribute discs to a further 23 organisations next week.

The film is to be screened at 4 venues over the coming fortnight. The Bophana Centre, the French Cultural Centre and an outdoor venue on Diamond Island, as part of the CFC International Film Festival. Additionally the EU Embassy is showing it at an event they are holding for students on the 7th of December.

On Youtube the film gained 2,100 views in it’s first 3 weeks and after one month stands at a total of 2,400. The 2-part version I posted originally will be taken down in the next few days and has already been replaced with a full-length version http://youtu.be/f4ej6L_bFh4. Sadly this means I will lose the 2,200+ hits from the original posting of the film.

The film is also gaining interest from abroad with groups in Laos and Thailand interested in dubbing it into their respective languages.

The 30 minute long ‘educational’ version is also now available online at http://youtu.be/jZ7KCgUqHDE. Both films are very similar, in fact almost identical for the first 15 minutes. The reason for doing this is that the ‘educational’ version will not date as quickly as the full-length film and can hopefully be used as an educational tool for many years to come. It is also missing the contentious bits about concessions and protests, making it less problematic to show.

I am very pleased to have received so many positive messages from Cambodian’s about the film, particularly the 2 university lecturers who see it as a really useful educational tool.

There are ongoing attempts to get the film broadcast on other channels so hopefully it will happen sooner or later. It is so frustrating to have had all the hard work to make it acceptable for broadcast destroyed by a self-serving journalist. Even one month later I am still furious that they printed that article, which painted my film as being somewhat divisive, despite there being no criticism of the government whatsoever. http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2012110159505/National-news/local-tv-to-air-film-on-prey-lang.html Considering the local context it’s hard to believe they didn’t intend to get it cancelled… and to make matters worse it was on the front page.

What angers me most is it means an opportunity was lost to raise a red flag to the dangers of destroying Boueng Per and Prey Lang forests, and in turn help the people being affected. From a personal perspective the article was highly embarrassing and I sincerely hope this doesn’t affect my working relationship with several ministries or CTN. All in all the Post really screwed this up, but hopefully all is not lost. I will certainly not be talking to the Post in future.

Fingers crossed.

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About Allan Michaud

English Wildlife Photographer/Environmental Filmmaker based in Cambodia
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2 Responses to Forests, Water, Life – Update

  1. No difficulty in understanding your frustration. Keep on. I worked with forest surveys in the Kirirom and Cardamome mountain areas from Jan 1967 to July 1969 – the people most interested in our findings were senior military personnel – – – the story goes on. Lars-Gunnar Blomkvist (Lars.Blomkvist of fb if you like)

    • Now you would be an interesting person to talk to. I have been lucky enough to work in almost every forest in the country since 2001 but working in Prey Long with the botanical team from the University of Copenhagen has been fascinating. They are due to be doing some work in the Cardamoms too this year. Which parts of the Cardamoms did you visit? I note nothing much has actually changed as the military are still the only ones interested in the forest, although they are only interested in selling it.

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