Cambodia ready for its close-up

Southeast Asian nation established film commission

BUSAN, South Korea -- Location managers now have an additional choice in Southeast Asia, following the recent establishment of a film commission in Cambodia.

The new Cambodia Film Commission made its market debut Monday at BIFCOM.
Established this year with finance from France's Agency for Overseas Development, the organization is headed by Cedric Eloy as CEO and Sovichea Cheap as director.

"This is real-low-cost Asia, but these days Cambodia has so much more to offer, too," Eloy said. "Regulation is done with a light touch. Our office acts as a filter for the ministry and can get shooting permits issued within a couple of weeks. Many of our locations could pass for other places in Asia."

He said that the country is also improving other technical facilities such as lighting and grip equipment, trained operators and disused factories that have been used as studios by the BBC for four months.

"Natural landscapes are already one of our great strengths, but the government is looking to expand on that with the creation of a 'natural reserve for cinema' complete with jungle, seaside locations and facilities," Eloy said.

International films that have previously shot in Cambodia include "Tomb Raider," Korea's "R-Point" and the recent "Same, Same but Different," by German director Detlev Buck, which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and played at last month's Toronto festival.