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Academy Approval Could Pave The Way For A Cambodian Oscar Winner

By: totallyrandomman Posted: December-03-2011 in
COSC Chairperson Miriam Arthur with khmer film star and voting committee member Dy Saveth at the 2011 Oscars party at Malis

A landmark decision by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), has paved the way for Khmer filmmakers to have their films considered for an Oscar. At their October 2011 semi-annual meeting the Academy granted approval of the new Cambodia Oscar Selection Committee (COSC). This sanction of the COSC leads the way for a possible entry from Cambodia in the Academy Awards Foreign Language Film category.

“The Academy has strict guidelines regarding submissions,” said Ms. Mariam Arthur, COSC Chairperson. “We will provide assistance for Khmer filmmakers to understand and meet the requirements.” A simplified copy of the Academy rules for the Foreign Language Film Award competition in Khmer will be distributed at a press conference hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

Each year, countries with an approved selection committee may submit one film for consideration for the Foreign Language Film Award Oscar; only 5 films are chosen from all international submissions for Academy members to cast their votes and choose a winning foreign language film.

The COSC members will consider submissions on seven criteria: story, direction, acting, cinematography, sound, music and universal theme. Films must have a theatrical release in Cambodia, which lasts for at least 7 days, between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012, but there must not be any television or internet distribution. Advertising must be “normal and customary to the industry,” and the “creative control” must be “largely in the hands of citizens or residents of that country,”

The chairperson reviews local submissions and organizes the voting members through the process. These members are: Mr. Bou Panha (editor), Ms. Dy Saveth (actress), Mr. Klot Rattana (director), Mr. Ly Bun Yim (director), Mr. Ly You Sreng (producer), Mr. Tep Rindaro (actor), and Mr. Yvon Hem (cinematographer).

While it may take a few years for filmmakers to produce a variety of eligible films, the COSC hopes that one or two films can meet the requirements for the 2013 Academy Awards.
This is the culmination of a year and a half of work by the COSC, although Ms. Arthur says the hardest part of the process was ‘preparing profiles of the committee members, because the experienced Khmer filmmakers did most of their work prior to the Khmer Rouge, and even current works are not readily publicized in English.’ Once profiles were compiled and the proposal put together, it took only 30 days for the Academy to approve the COSC.

A number of Khmer filmmakers, including Rithy Panh, Sok Visal and Chhay Bora have already expressed an interest in submitting films for consideration in the coming year and competition looks set to be fierce.

The COSC, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, will be holding a press conference in the near future to formally announce the COSC’s Academy approval and to invite submissions and queries from filmmakers. Keep an eye on for breaking news on the date and venue of this press conference.
So, Cambodia’s first ever Oscar winner may not be so far in the future. Perhaps it could be you.

This article first appeared in the inaugural issue of The Advisor - find the archives online and downloadable


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