Production Day One Complete!

After a very limited amount of sleep Sunday night, I awoke at 5am Monday morning to prepare for filming at Tuol Sleng Museum, Choeng Ek Genocidal Center, and the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Picked up Christophe at 7:30am who generously donated his time and equipment for the day. Thanks to the support of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM), we were given full access to filming at the three locations. We had previously negotiated for permission to film from one of the nearby rooftops so we started the day there. DC-CAM had a group of over 300 chiefs from villages all over the countryside tour the museums and university so we were with them throughout. After Tuol Sleng Museum (where thousands of Cambodians were tortured) we went to Choeng Ek (where thousands of Cambodians were executed). For many of these chiefs, this was their first visit to either location on their own terms. At Choeng Ek, Buddhist monks led a ceremony to honor those who were killed. These are pictures from the day:
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After some miscommunication with DC-CAM, I went to the wrong location and missed the bus on tuesday morning. I persuaded a motorcycle driver to drive me about 30 minutes outside of town to catch up with the tour. Nothing like a moto ride at rush hour in Cambodia (makes you really appreciate the calm commute on the train!) I held back from taking pictures of this ride as I felt it may directly endanger my life. Negotiating with the Cambodian police outside the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia or ECCC was no easy task. Out of probable frustration with my lack of giving up, they let me through the gate. The court room is very new and clean but is about the size of my elementary school’s auditorium! The following are pictures of the ECCC (site of the coming war tribunal):
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I spent this morning visiting the Chak Ung Rea Leu neighborhood of Phnom Penh talking to families and hearing their stories. These two families welcomed me into their house and it was powerful to see the joy radiating from the children despite their humble surroundings.
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One response to “Production Day One Complete!

  1. Well done with the police! I never had any concern for your negotiating skills.

    It must have been really powerful to see all those chiefs visit the locations for the first time. Just think you have visited those spots twice in 3 years and they have visited 0 times in what 30+ years.

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