First-Time Cambodian Director Wins Prestigious Film Award

The Cambodian-made feature film “The Last Reel” starring legendary actress Dy Saveth has won the prestigious Spirit of Asia Award at the 27th Tokyo International Film Festival, with the film’s debut director Sotho Kulikar picking up the honor at the festival’s closing ceremony Friday night.

The film, which also had its world premiere at the festival, was produced by Cambodia’s Hanuman Films.

A still image from 'The Last Reel'
A still image from ‘The Last Reel’

The movie is a portrait of contemporary Cambodia and of one woman’s attempt to reconnect to the obliterated pre-Khmer Rouge world by remaking the missing reel of a film that starred her once-famous mother.

The film proved a hit with critics and audiences alike in Tokyo.

“This film was screened twice and I was there both times to witness many of the audience members crying,” said jury member Tadao Satoh.

The movie also works as a meta-commentary on the as-yet untapped potential of serious homegrown filmmaking in Cambodia, and its director hopes the award will be a boon to the domestic industry.

“This will help boost the recognition of the filmmaking industry in my home country, Cambodia,” she said after collecting her award.

“The Last Reel” will have its homecoming premiere at the Cambodia International Film Festival’s opening night on December 5 in Phnom Penh.

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