You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Busan: ‘Diamond’ Team Enters Cambodia’s ‘White Building’

BUSAN — The core team behind 2016 Cannes Critics’ Week selection “Diamond Island” were at the Busan Film Festival’s Asian Project Market this week with Khmer-language film “White Building.”

“Diamond Island” was Paris based documentarian Davy Chou’s fiction feature debut and won the SACD Prize at Cannes.

“Diamond Island” co-producer Kavich Neang will make his feature debut with “White Building.” Neang is a product of Busan’s Asian Film Academy. His first narrative short “Three Wheels” premiered at Busan last year and won the Youth Jury Award at the Singapore International Film Festival.

Chou and “Diamond Island” co-producer Steve Chen will produce “White Building” alongside Marine Arrighi de Casanova of France’s Apsara Films (“Fidelio: Alice’s Odyssey”.)

Endorsement for the project was swift. It won two prizes in Busan, the CJ Entertainment Award (worth $10,000 and a first look option with Korean major CJ) and the EUR 6,000 ARTE International Prize sponsored by European arts broadcaster ARTE France.

The White Building is a real life iconic edifice in Phnom Penh that was home to a community of artists in the 1960s and 1970s. It has since fallen into disrepair, housing prostitutes and drug abusers, and there are calls to demolish it. “White Building” is a coming of age story following three friends set here and will be shot in the real building.

“I was born in the White Building,” Neang said. “The building is very important and has a long history. I wanted to document this.”

The film is budgeted at $500,000 of which $60,000 has already been raised via private equity. “I presented “Diamond Island” two years ago here at the Asian Project Market and we won the ARTE award,” says Chou. “That was the birth certificate of the film. It’s the same here. We’re here to introduce the film and go through the funding step by step.”

The team will apply for European funds while simultaneously looking for Asian partners, with particular emphasis on Thailand, as independent cinema has developed there over the last 20 years.

Chou, Chen and Neang are the founders of Phnom Penh based Cambodian production company Anti-Archive, set up in 2014. “Diamond Island” was lead produced by Charlotte Vincent and France’s Aurora Films, with Anti-Archive co-producer.

“We found that there was a need for contemporary cinema, a cinema that doesn’t deal with the past as a historical concept, in terms of memory, in terms of the past as a fluid concept that’s interwoven with the present and the future. We thought rather than keeping the past in a box, we’d keep it open and use the present as a dynamic. Kavich is one of the new voices of Cambodian cinema.”

Cambodian cinema has revived after small spate of multiplex building in recent year. Now there is screen space for local content alongside the imported Hollywood and Thai blockbusters. And a generation of filmgoers who had never had the experience of watching a film in a cinema, due to the genocide and its aftermath, are now discovering the theatrical cinema experience.

More Film

  • Netflix Buys Taiwan Black Comedy 'Dear

    Netflix Buys Taiwan Black Comedy 'Dear Ex'

    Netflix has added to its roster of Mandarin-language content with the acquisition of rights to Taiwanese dark comedy “Dear Ex.” The award-winning film will play out from Feb. 1. The story involves a recently bereaved widow and a gay man fighting over a dead man’s inheritance, with the woman’s teenage son caught in the middle. [...]

  • Audrey Wells

    Film News Roundup: Audrey Wells Scholarships Launched by UCLA, China's Pearl Studio

    In today’s film news roundup, Pearl Studio and UCLA start a “Say Yes!” scholarship in memory of Audrey Well; Gina Lollobrigida and Claudia Cardinale are honored; and the “General Magic” documentary gets bought. SCHOLARSHIPS UNVEILED China’s Pearl Studio has made a gift of $100,000 for endowed scholarships to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and [...]

  • Honey Boy Knock Down the House

    Sundance Hot Titles List: 13 Buzzy Films That Have Buyers Talking

    There’s a good reason that much of Hollywood braves the thin mountain air each year to make the trek to the Sundance Film Festival, and it’s not to check out the nearby ski slopes. The annual launch of the indie film gathering brings with it the possibility of discovering the next big thing in moviemaking. [...]

  • (L to R) VIGGO MORTENSEN and

    Will Oscar Nominations Give This Year's Contenders a Box Office Boost?

    With nominees like “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “A Star Is Born,” the 2018 class of movies proved the Oscars don’t need a popular films category to recognize movies that also made bank in theaters. But now that the academy has selected this year’s crop of awards hopefuls, is there any green left to squeeze [...]

  • A24 Buys Sequel to Tilda Swinton's

    Sundance: A24 Buys Sequel to Tilda Swinton's Romance-Drama 'The Souvenir'

    A24 has bought the North American rights to Tilda Swinton’s romance-drama “The Souvenir – Part 2,” closing the deal on the eve of the Sundance Film Festival. “The Souvenir” is set to make its world premiere at Sundance on Jan. 27, followed by playing in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival in February. [...]

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

    Chiwetel Ejiofor Adds Authenticity to Directorial Debut by Shooting in Malawi

    When actor Chiwetel Ejiofor optioned the rights for the 2009 best-seller “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” penning the screenplay for a feature directorial debut that world-premieres in Sundance and then appears in the Berlin Film Festival before being released globally by Netflix this spring, colleagues floated the idea of shooting the Malawi-set film in tried-and-tested [...]

  • ally billboard a star is born

    Oscar Campaign Spending Reaches New Heights in Competitive Season

    The escalating cost of awards campaigning may reach an all-time high this season as heavyweights such as “Roma” and “A Star Is Born” battle for Oscar gold. The quest for an Academy Award has always been expensive, but Netflix’s hunger to nab its first best picture win, coupled with the presence of legitimate studio contenders [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content