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Cambodian Feature Film FREEDOM DEAL Fights Funding Challenges, Lack of Cinema Infrastructure
Cambodian Feature Film FREEDOM DEAL Fights Funding Challenges, Lack of Cinema Infrastructure, and Sluggish Global Economy to Reveal the Untold Story of the Secret 1970 US War in Cambodia
A group of Khmer and Foreign filmmakers and artists, including a Cambodian Princess, US alt-rock legend Bob Lewis of the band DEVO, an award-winning US writer-director, and Golden Age 1960’s Cambodian filmmaker Yvon Hem all have one thing in common.
They’re trying to get Cambodia’s first homegrown crowd funded indie feature, FREEDOM DEAL off the ground, in a developing nation where film funding is virtually non-existent.
Undaunted, a new crowd funding site for the film has just been launched at IndieGogo; http://www.indiegogo.com/
The goal is to raise enough money ($4700) in 40 days to produce a short film adapted from the feature length screenplay, in order to gain festival circuit exposure and to attract co-production interest to produce the full-length feature.
FREEDOM DEAL tells the story of a Cambodian youth and his refugee sidekick, an elderly wedding player, who flee the growing conflict on their border as the Vietnam war expands into Cambodia during Nixon’s 1970 ‘Cambodian incursion’. On their way they evade horrific Cambodian ghosts, while rescuing a downed US aircrew and evading brutal Khmer Rouge guerillas.
The project’s producer and writer-director, a US filmmaker Jason Rosette, who has been living in Cambodia since 2005 while researching the project, is convinced the movie can be made despite the challenges of making a Vietnam wartime period feature on a limited budget.
“Numerous other very compelling and commercially successful wartime features have been produced, thanks to great local talent and a creative use of effects and locations.” states Rosette. ‘Come and See’, by Elem Klimov, is one incredible example, taking place during the Nazi occupation of Belarus– as I’ve heard, it’s one of Sean Penn’s favorite all time films. Using creative sound effects, limited numbers of vehicles and superbly cast local talent, the perception of all-out war is convincingly created.”
Of course, Sam Fuller’s ‘’The Steel Helmet” stands out as the quintessential example of the low budget War movie – a US-Korean war movie made for $100,000, entirely in a studio in ten days, with the assistance of college students. The production team used plenty of mist to alter perceptions of the limited shooting location, a great team of actors, and even a plywood tank which reads convincingly due to lighting and camera setups.
For the production of FREEDOM DEAL, taking place during the 1970 US incursion into Cambodia, (Cambodian) Princess Norodom has been conducting local and regional outreach to share this important, but relatively unknown part of US-Cambodian history.
Many US citizens remember the 1970 shootings of unarmed protesting students at Kent State as a turning point in the US involvement in the Vietnam war, leading to the eventual downfall of President Nixon himself.
But relatively few people realize that the Kent State protesters were expressing outrage at the Cambodian incursion, as depicted in FREEDOM DEAL, an event which had widely been seen as an expansion of the Vietnam War into the rest of Southeast Asia.
The production has recently concluded a local casting session in Phnom Penh cameradomoviesandmedia.blogspot.com/
“International co-producers are excited by the totally unique FREEDOM DEAL story and the obvious US tie-in, which will help the movie’s performance in North America especially”, states Rosette.
"But, since we’re planning to shoot in Cambodia and Thailand, folks tend to be risk averse until they can actually see something on screen.”
The group is now proceeding to produce their short adaptation of the feature length screenplay, which, lacking the complexity of vehicles and pyrotechnics, can be achieved on a low budget. The short film (approximately 10 minutes) will gain exposure on the international festival circuit and elsewhere, in order to elicit further interest and funding for the full-length production.
“This ‘staged approach’ is something that was used for ‘Slingblade’, ‘’Bottle Rockets’, ‘Stranger than Paradise’, and numerous other unique films which carried perceived production risks.” says Rosette. “But we’re confident that, when we can show FREEDOM DEAL internationally on screen in its adapted short form, credible international coproduction partners will jump off the fence to participate in the full-length production”
With the Cambodian environment lacking in several key areas, film production incentives (let alone rebates) are not currently available; funding must come from the private sector or international sources.
So the FREEDOM DEAL team has set up their crowd funding portal at IndieGogo, and encourages all global filmmakers, fans, angels, and donors to contribute to the production of this incredibly unique, untold story from a little known part of the US-Vietnam conflict...in Cambodia.
Contribute at http://www.indiegogo.com/
Official website at: http://www.freedomdealmovie.com
Produced by CAMERADO SE Asia http://www.camerado.com
Attn: J Rosette & Phun Sokunthearith
PO Box 707, 12000Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Mobile # 855 011 736 206