Monday, November 05, 2007

Putting Cambodia on the screen

Oth Phouthang - Khmer kick-boxing Champion

I've mentioned before that Hanuman is a brand that has different entities - providing tours in Cambodia, Vietnam & Laos (that's the area I'm involved in), its own boutique hotel in Siem Reap, fine arts, antiques and clothing outlets as well as a film production servicing arm. The latter, Hanuman Films is the brainchild of Nick and Kulikar, who did such a good job on the filming of Tomb Raider back in 2000, they established the company which has gone from strength to strength ever since. Between them, Nick and Kulikar have unrivalled experience across the Mekong region and are kept very busy with numerous film, television and commercial shoots in Cambodia and beyond.
Just to mention a few of the recent filming productions:
They collaborated with a US television documentary team for a programme called The Human Weapon - Cambodian Bloodsport. The program pitched Cambodian kick-boxing (Pradal Serey)champions like Oth Phouthang (who posed for this picture for me) against American opponents, Jason Chambers and Bill Duff and will be shown on the History Channel on 16 November. If anyone is interested in watching live Khmer kick-boxing, CTN has live action every Saturday and Sunday between 2-5pm atheir studio, whilst TV-5 promotes shows on Fridays and Sundays. When Al Jazeera television arrived in Cambodia to film a one-hour special titled I Knew Pol Pot, Kulikar arranged interviews with senior Khmer Rouge figures and survivors, including Brother Number 2 Nuon Chea and former head of state Khieu Samphan.
The programme Digging For The Truth - Angkor Wat was aired on the History Channel last week as Hanuman helped the filmmakers to tell the secrets and story of the Angkor temples and the ancient Khmer civilization.
Pepsi recently came to Siem Reap to film scenes for a new commercial that will be aired across the globe and will feature some of the top Premiership football stars. I was roped in to whizz around town getting snap-shots of market stalls so they could decide what to put in one of the scenes. More productions are taking place and as Cambodia takes off as far as filmmaking is concerned - amazing locations, places and faces bursting with colour - even more are sure to follow. Find out more about Hanuman Films here.

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