Just a short blog before I head off to the boonies, Mondulkiri this time.
I recently finished 2 films on Prey Lang, one for the University of Copenhagen/Danmission about their wonderful smartphone app that is helping the indigenous communities in Prey Lang record and geo-reference illegal activities and map natural resources.
The other film was for Winrock and their Supporting Forests and Biodiversity Project. Essentially this film was a much shorter remake of my film Cambodia: Forests, Water, Life film from 3 years ago, but with a lot of new footage and it’s only 16 minutes instead of 45. It’s now 5 weeks since Winrock released it and they have informed me it has now been seen by almost 100,000 people on Facebook alone. This was helped in no small way by opposition leader Sam Rainsy posting it on his page where 10,000 people saw it and many shared it. The client seems pretty happy, apparently it’s a good 10 times the numbers they have managed for a video before, so hopefully I might get another job out of it in the future. For me personally I couldn’t be happier because the film of 3 years ago was due to be broadcast on the most popular TV channel in the country, when local paper the Phnom Penh Post ran a ridiculous article on their front page that resulted in it being pulled at the last minute. I believe Winrock are going to offer it around the TV stations so hopefully this one will eventually get broadcast.
As with most of my films I have deliberately tried to take a fact based approach rather than trying to be confrontational, as I for one don’t think that works in this part of the world. Hopefully the message is strong enough to get across because the country really cannot afford to let the rampant destruction of their forests continue.
For anyone wanting to watch it, here is the Youtube link
Anyway I am off to Keo Siema in the morning, to get wet and do my bit to conserve the local leech population. I am going to be taking a lot of aerial shots with my drone and plan to visit several waterfalls as its’ rainy season and they should be pretty spectacular now. The main point of the trip is to search for a few places that I turned up in research into the 1970 US incursion into Cambodia during the Vietnam war. Basically Keo Seima was one of the main bases for the North Vietnamese and included the 2 biggest weapons caches discovered during the 10 years of the US war in Vietnam. It also included a fully equipped 500 bed hospital, which is one of the main sites I am trying to get to this time. I got near it 18 months back but didn’t have my machete with me and couldn’t fight my way through to where it was. The other main thing I am looking for is a US radio (backpack style) that some guys from the WCS ranger station came across. That would be quite a find because from my maps, the area it is in means it may well have come from a well documented and fierce battle that took place.
Lastly I am hoping to finish off the trip with a visit to see Sambo and film a bit for a potential follow up to the film of 18 months ago.
As the saying goes, there is nothing like traveling light… and as you can see from the picture, this is nothing like traveling light. And I am not even taking my big 500mm lens, no camping equipment, no second (bigger) tripod, no climbing equipment and no solar equipment, which would entail a 2nd waterproof case, a car battery, the roll up solar panels and my 120 liter Bergen. This kit weighs in at just 60kg, the full kit is well over 1ookg, without the car battery.
In case anyone is interested the kit includes:
Stills body and 4 lenses (14mm to 200 range, including a macro)
Large selection of Lee filters
Video camera with assorted accessories
Drone and assorted accessories, ipad etc
Sennheiser lav mic and wide angle camera mic
2 lights for interviews etc
A huge selection of batteries and chargers for the above
WD 2gb portable hard drive for backing up
Camera slider and 2 stands (double up for light stands)
1 change of clothes and most importantly a half kg of freshly ground coffee.