Cambodia's first Cannes buyer leaves town

Kmy Films founder picks up two Korean films at market

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CANNES -- Sales companies seeking to make their first deals in Cambodia might have missed their chance this week as the country's first-ever buyer at the Cannes market left town Saturday, having snapped up a handful of titles.

"The market is very narrow and focused almost entirely on four genres -- action, horror, comedy and Korean romances," said Kmy Films founder Mariam Arthur, a U.S. film exec now residing in Cambodia.

Arthur picked up two Korean titles this week, including Prime Entertainment's 2006 romance "The Elephant on the Bike." The deals add to the seven movies she bought at Filmart, headed by "Parasomnia" from American World Pictures, "Last of the Living" from Quantum Releasing and others from Lonely Seal and Fries Films.

Cambodia, like neighboring Vietnam, is one of Asia's last undeveloped cinema markets.

"There are almost no 35mm projectors, there are no multiplexes at all, and the Hollywood majors do not distribute there, though this week I had meetings with Universal," Arthur said. "Piracy, with masters coming from Malaysia, is also a problem."

Most films are screened from 2K digital projectors. But distribution technology could skip a generation and further open up the market even if long-awaited multiplexes remain unbuilt. Phone companies are now streaming movies to hand-held devices as well.