Young filmmaker returns to Cambodia to teach others the art of filmmaking

Davy Chou first came to Cambodia in 2008, to discover his parents country of origin. For Davy, a filmmaker who grew up in France, it was a life-changing experience.

Davy returned to Cambodia in January this year, to spend 6 months running a workshop for Cambodian youth to learn film making skills. Working with 4 schools, Mith Samlanh, DMC, Reyum Art School and Lycee Descartes, Davy is introducing the students to basic techniques of framing images, scriptwriting and storytelling. The students have been using their newly acquired skills to write a short film, with each school writing and filming their own sequences which once compiled, will make a complete film.

Working with the students at Mith Samlanh, provided an interesting component to the workshop for Davy. For these students, who are former street youth, being involved in the project gives them an opportunity to participate in something that they may never have thought they would have a chance to do. The students attend 2 hour workshops in addition to their vocational training classes held at Mith Samlanh. The enthusiasm the students have towards the project is inspiring.

“Working with students from Mith Samlanh is a great thing for me. They are all so creative and their interest makes them understand things quickly even if they are not used to watch films”

Tha Va, a student from Mith Samlanh Vocational Training Centre who also attends Davy’s class, said he is so happy to join this workshop because he has learnt how to write the story and the script, do the casting, and edit the video. “At first I thought making a movie is easy, but after learning in this video workshop, I found that to make a good movie, we will need to do a lot of work behind the scene,” he added.

This week, from May 4 to 8, casting for the collective film takes place, with students from the four schools in charge of organizing this and auditioning for parts. Davy decided that all the actors will be students from Mith Samlanh, once again because of the creativity they showed during those first months. Nearly 70 students will audition during the week to become the main characters of the film. The casting will take place at the Friends-International office and Mith Samlanh. Local Cambodian TV station, Apsara TV, will film the casting and be featuring the performances, giving its Cambodian audience a different and positive perspective of what these former street youths can do. The shooting of the collective film will be spread in May and June and the screening will be in July.

A short video made by the students can be seen here.

About the Director and producer: Davy Chou

Davy Chou is 25 and lives in France. Between 2001 and 2004 he managed a film and video workshop for high school students. In 2005 he founded CQN Productions, which produced 9 short films. Davy Chou produced three of them himself. He also launched an international digital film festival the same year, Festival des Nouveaux Cinémas (, the fourth anniversary of which was just recently celebrated. He worked in 2007 and 2008 at Studio 37, Orange France Telecom’s branch for movie production.

In 2007 he directed his first professional short film, Davy Chou’s first film, a genre film with a unique approach at themes such as identity and heritage. In 2008, the short film Girls of fire, on which he was production manager, was selected at the International Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival. His second short film Expired, shot in Cambodia this summer, won the SFR Jeunes Talents Film Competition and was selected at Festival Entrevues de Belfort 2008. His third film, The Rising Motorcycle Heroes, is currently being edited.

Besides the film workshops, Davy Chou is preparing a documentary about the golden era of Cambodian cinema in the 60s and 70s and a feature film which will take place in Cambodia.

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