Local Film Festival Shares Culture, Exposes Histories

Sep. 8, 2015 / By Michelle Siebert

The Cambodia Town Film Festival held its welcoming reception Thursday at Long Beach’s Thunder Studios, where filmmakers, actors, sponsors, and VIPs came together to celebrate Cambodian film.

The festival lasted from Thursday to Sunday and featured an international collection of narrative features, student films, documentaries, animated films, and shorts from different places in the world.

Tony Te, the festival’s Media Relations and Committee member, said the films allowed filmmakers and actors to be exposed through Long Beach’s Cambodia town and nearby cities.

“Through movies, you can teach and tell a story that people can take with them and it will stick with them,” Te said. “They can use it throughout their everyday lives and possibly share with another.”

The festival emphasized the variety of Cambodian histories through filmmaking, showcasing Cambodian traditions as well as engaging audiences on social and political conflicts.

IMG_2811Lia Johnson, the director of a short film called “American Refugee,” was an attendee who celebrated her and other films alongside music and food. Her film, a fictional work, was shot in Phnom Penh, and is about a man’s first day back in Cambodia after deportation.

“I fell in love with Cambodia and learned about the story when I met a number of people out there,” Johnson said. “Many of the people I met didn’t know that the story was going on and that people were being deported from the United States, so it was important to me to share the story with a wider audience by doing a short film.”

For more information, visit www.cambodiatownfilmfestival.com.

Michelle Siebert is a senior at California State University, Long Beach majoring in Journalism. She is currently a multimedia assistant for the Daily 49er newspaper at CSULB and has also written for Dig Magazine.

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