BEIJING — Cambodia has entered the historical drama “Lost Loves” into the foreign-language category at the Oscars, the first time in 18 years the Southeast Asian country has submitted a movie to the Academy Awards.

Helmer Chhay Bora, and his wife, Kauv Sotheary, who is the lead actor in the pic, used 15 years of personal savings to produce the film, he told the Phnom Penh Post.

The pic is a story about a woman who lost many family members to Pol Pot’s bloody Khmer Rouge regime, and was inspired by Leave Sila, Bora’s mother-in-law.

The Cambodia Oscar Selection Committee voted unanimously for the historical drama.

“The movie shows strong passion (in its portrayal) of a woman’s hardship during the Khmer Rouge regime. All of the production elements came together to make the audience feel the pain and joy of the main character,” Mariam Arthur, the head of COSC, told the paper.

Pic was released on Jan. 6 and was a big hit, especially among people who survived the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror.