This may be my last blog entry from Cambodia. Its hard to believe that I’ve been here nearly four months but I couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out so far and am very excited about bringing the film home and into the editing room.
Thank you all for your comments and/or taking the time to read this, without all of you, none of what we have achieved so far would have been possible.
That being said, let me fill you in on the last week. Jonathan, Sarom, and I arrived in Siem Reap just before midnight on friday night, the day before the musum opening. Jose and Tom had all the gear ready for the following big day and we arrived at the museum excited and ready to congratulate Aki Ra and welcome the children to their new home.
Masters of the P2 workflow, we were able to shoot the entire opening ceremony and speeches with two cameras, film interviews and broll at the same time, and take time to enjoy the event. Aki Ra was blessed with many important VIP guests including the Canadian Ambassador Donica Pottie and the head of the CMAA (organization governming all mining operations in Cambodia). Filled with seven years of building exhiliration, Richard Fitoussi gave an emotional speech followed by a walkthrough of the new buildings with Aki Ra and all his guests.
I’m happy to report that the museum looks great and really came together the past month with eveyone’s hard work and determination. The children were a bit apprehensive about leaving their home once again and moving into their new areas. After some time to adjust and when their school begins, we’re all confident that they will welcome their new surroundings. We treated Aki Ra and Hourt to a celebratory lunch followed by filming a few shots of Aki Ra in the jungle for the film’s opening. Packed up all the equipment that Jonathan and Jose would be taking with them before heading out for a celebratory drink for the museum opening and a wrap party for the film. Aki Ra and Hourt joined us for a few games of pool and I taught Hourt how to play while Stuart showed Aki Ra. Hopefully Hourt will play again as she showed some great natural talent and seemed to really enjoy it.
Tom was kind enough to drive Jonathan and Jose to the airport at 5am and the two departed for Singapore without a problem. Tom returned to Phnom Penh with the car that afternoon and I spent the next 48 hours solid exporting, compressing, and burning CDs and DVDs of the film’s interviews to be translated from Khmer to English.
Said my goodbeyes to the kids at the new museum, Aki Ra and Hourt, and all the friends I’ve made while staying here. Was sad to leave Siem Reap but I am hopeful of a return to an incredible city and country.
Two full co-ordination days in Phnom Penh filled with searching for Khmer music and musicians to feature in the film, tracking down the hard to find “Pol Pot music,” and meeting with Samnang and Tom about the film’s translation.
I’m currently sitting in the Singapore Airport waiting to fly to Los Angeles tomorrow to meet with our editor and drop off the footage before returning to Chicago. If all goes as planned, we should have a full trailer up by the end of May. Thanks again and look forward to seeing you all soon!