Archive for the ‘Films and Television’ Category

Into remote Cambodia

Monday, March 30th, 2015
Filming the Red Bull mountain bikers in Cambodia

Filming the Red Bull mountain bikers in Cambodia

Hanuman recently looked after a major overland expedition for Red Bull Media House, the extreme sports specialists. For this trip they were following some competition mountain bikers, including Rebecca Rusch, the “Queen of Pain”, down the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and onwards south down the ‘Sihanouk Trail’ in Cambodia.

2 mountain bikes, 5 dirt bikes, 8 4WDs, this was an expedition through some of the most remote parts of Cambodia. Crossing into Cambodia at Trapeang Kriel, the crew headed northwest to Siem Pang before crossing the Sekong River and surfing through the sand to Veun Sai. After a comfortable overnight in Ban Lung, they continued south to Koh Nhek, using the old ‘Death Highway’ from Lumphat. From there, they blasted through Sen Monorom on the new road before veering off to follow the old King’s Highway through the jungles of Kaoh Seima Protected Forest, one of the most beautiful roads in Cambodia.

All of this was captured on state-of-the-art Red Epic Dragon 6K cameras, that means 9X the pixels of an HD camera or one hell of a lot of memory. It should make for an epic endurance film through some of the most remote and beautiful parts of Indochina.

Surviving on Koh Rong

Thursday, February 26th, 2015
One of Koh Rong's lovely beaches

One of Koh Rong’s lovely beaches

Television’s longest running reality TV show, Survivor, now into its 30th season, will be heading to the island of Koh Rong off the coast of Cambodia in March to film two episodes. The American show debuted in 2000 and is a reality contest where a group of strangers in an isolated location must find their own water, food and shelter whilst competing in challenges. The locals are hoping that the positive publicity will be a boost for tourism on the island, its gorgeous beaches and along the coast.

Koh Rong is the second largest island in Cambodia and offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. After years of minimal development, the island was leased to the Royal Group (Mobitel, ANZ Royal and many more companies) who laid out some grand plans to create the next Koh Samui, including an airport and ringroad. However, as the global economy imploded, these plans were put on hold and the island has begun to develop in a more traditional, organic sense, with lots of small backpacker pads and bungalow resorts springing up on the island. When it comes to activities on Koh Rong, it is mostly about relaxing on the beach. However, snorkelling and diving trips are popular and can be easily arranged.

The Last Reel homecoming premiere

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The homecoming premiere of Hanuman Films’ The Last Reel was a huge success on the opening night of the Cambodia International Film Festival at Major Cineplex, Aeon Mall, Phnom Penh.

The Last Reel director Sotho Kulikar

The Last Reel director Sotho Kulikar

Many of The Last Reel team were there to enjoy the moment, including Director Sotho Kulikar (pictured above), actors Ma Rynet (Sophoun), Dy Saveth (Srey Mom/Sothea), Sok Sothun (Vichea) and Rous Mony (Veasna), Writer/Producer Ian Masters; Producer Murray Pope, Nick Ray and many more.  Ma Rynet scooped the CIFF Talent Award 2014 reflecting her commanding performance as the lead actress in The Last Reel. Meanwhile some of the team from the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Japan Foundation flew in to Cambodia especially to present The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar with her engraved Spirit of Asia Award, with the Japanese Ambassador on hand to welcome them in the kingdom. Two festivals and two awards for those involved in The Last Reel, what an achievement.

Our sincere thanks go out to everyone involved in making the Cambodia premiere a special night, including the Cambodia International Film Festival team, the organisers, the sponsors and all those who turned out in force to make it so memorable. Particular thanks to the Minister of Culture H.E. Phoeurng Sackona (pictured below with the The Last Reel team) and the Minister of Information H.E. Khieu Kanharith for attending the opening night. There were many other VIPs and faces from the filmmaking community there and we hope everyone enjoyed the film.  Our thanks to our supporters Sabay for some great photographs on the night.

The Last Reel team

The Last Reel team

The Last Reel wins the Spirit of Asia Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2014

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

The 27th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF Japan 2014) was a resounding success for The Last Reel team and the principals from Hanuman Films as debutant Director Sotho Kulikar won the Spirit of Asia Award.

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar accepts the Spirit of Asia Award at TIFF 2014 in Tokyo

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar accepts the Spirit of Asia Award at TIFF 2014 in Tokyo

The Last Reel won the Spirit of Asia Award by the Japan Foundation Asia Center at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2014. There were 2300 submissions to TIFF 2014 and fewer than 200 films were selected for screening, with just 11 awards up for grabs. In her acceptance speech, Director Sotho Kulikar dedicated the award to Cambodia and Cambodians everywhere. For some photographs from the award ceremony and the latest news on The Last Reel, visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Last-Reel/1581309628755913

During the week Kulikar also met with Lord David Puttnam, Producer of The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire and The Mission, which collectively won 10 Oscars and 25 Baftas in the 1980s. Indiewire called The Last Reel “a remarkable Cambodian film that we’ll be reviewing presently, but which details the country’s troubled recent history with real personal emotion”.

Up next is the Cambodia premiere of The Last Reel as the opening film of the Cambodia International Film Festival on 5 December and then the Singapore premiere at the Singapore International Film Festival on 7 December.

The Last Reel World Premiere at TIFF Japan 2014

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Hanuman is excited to announce that the feature film debut from our sister company Hanuman Films will enjoy its World Premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2014 on Sunday 26 October at 14.10pm at the TOHO Cinemas, Roppongi Hills.

The Last Reel

Sophuon (Ma Rynet) looks out of the projection booth in The Last Reel

The Last Reel is the directorial debut from Sotho Kulikar and is a Hanuman Films Production. It is the one of the first full-length feature films to be directed by a Cambodian woman and is generating significant international interest. The Last Reel was shot entirely on location in Cambodia during 2013 with a cast of leading local talent, including Ma Rynet, Dy Saveth and Rous Mony.

A lost film buried beneath the Killing Fields reveals different versions of the truth. In an abandoned cinema, rebellious teenager Sophoun discovers an old film starring her mother, offering her the chance to dictate her own destiny at last, but at the cost of uncovering some dark secrets from the past about her parents lives during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Visit The Last Reel website http://www.thelastreel.info/ to learn more about the film in English, Khmer or French, including a fullscreen version of the trailer to whet your appetite. The website also include the official brochure for the film, a gallery of film stills and behind-the-scenes images, and the official poster for the film. There is also an official The Last Reel Facebook page and we welcome all Likes: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Last-Reel/1581309628755913

The Last Reel exposes the legacy of civil war and genocide and the shadow this violence has cast over subsequent generations. The trauma may have only been experienced by those who lived through the dark years of Khmer Rouge rule, but the impact of the living nightmare has been passed on to the next generation. Almost nobody talks about the past, almost nobody has dealt with their past, but have chosen to suppress or ignore it as a coping mechanism to deal with the pain. However, this suppression of raw emotion comes at a cost and affects the behaviour of an entire older generation in their everyday lives. In trying to protect the next generation by concealing a painful past, many parents have in fact damaged the next generation instead by not allowing themselves to heal. It is hoped that The Last Reel will play its part in a long overdue recovery process in Cambodia by encouraging generations old and young to talk more openly about the past. The ghosts of the past are not easily buried and will continue to haunt a generation unless they are able to give a voice to the victims and their own suffering.

Before coming onboard as Executive Producer, Lloyd Levin (Producer of major Hollywood films such as Tomb Raider, Boogie Nights, Hellboy, Green Zone and United 93) had this to say about The Last Reel: “I’m overwhelmed. It’s magnificent. It’s beautifully shot. Acting and writing is terrific. Just beautifully made from top to bottom. This is such a sophisticated film thematically I can’t believe it was directed by a first time director. The way it weaves regret, remorse, joy, love, guilt, redemption, politics with the past and present. I was moved by the sentiment that movies can be the thing that can bring together disparate people – political enemies, oppressors and their victims, fathers and daughters – despite everyone’s different version of the truth.  And the idea that a movie can be just as, if not more real, than reality, and can become our reality, is truly sublime. That’s a beautiful idea and The Last Reel is a wonderful movie.”

The Last Reel is in the running for the Asian Future prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival. If you have any questions about the film, please do not hesitate to get in touch. In the meantime, thanks in advance for all your help in spreading the word as The Last Reel approaches its world premiere.

Recognition for Angelina

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Cambodian citizen Angelina Jolie becomes an honorary British dame.

Hollywood actor and UN special envoy Angelina Jolie was accorded one of the highest accolades granted by the British establishment when she was made an honorary dame in the Queen’s birthday honours a few days ago. The 39-year-old Oscar winner, who has spent much of this week co-chairing a London summit on war rape with foreign secretary William Hague, becomes a dame commander of the order of St Michael and St George courtesy of the foreign office in recognition of her work on conflict sexual crime. Jolie is co-founder with Hague of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and was nominated in the diplomatic service and overseas birthday 2014 honours for services to UK foreign policy and the campaign to end war zone sexual violence.

Jolie, who is UN special envoy for refugees, said of the award: “To receive an honour related to foreign policy means a great deal to me as it is what I wish to dedicate my working life to. Working on PSVI and with survivors of rape is an honour in itself. I know that succeeding in our goals will take a lifetime and I am dedicated to it for all of mine.”

It was while she was in Cambodia in 2001, shooting Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (see the Hanuman Films video link below), that Angelina Jolie became aware of the suffering of the people in that war-ravaged country — “my eyes started to open,” she would later say. That experience — and a greater understanding of a worldwide humanitarian crisis – led the actress to contact the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees later that year. In the years since, her work as a Goodwill Ambassador on behalf of the homeless and dispossessed has taken her to more than 30 countries — including a few war zones — and to Washington, D.C., where she has pushed for legislation to assist refugees in troubled regions around the world. In recognition of her conservation efforts within Cambodia, King Norodom Sihamoni awarded her Cambodian citizenship on 31 July, 2005.

 

Talking about awards, did you know that Cambodia is the current holder of the title, ‘World’s Best Rice’?

It was a moment to savour for Cambodian Rice as Cambodian Premium Fragrant Rice was awarded the ‘World’s Best Rice’ Award for the second straight year in a row at the global rice tasting competition during the World Rice Conference in Hong Kong, China in November last year. Cambodia owed its victory for being not only tasty but also natural, green and healthy. This second year win in a row, 2012 and 2013, has helped to raise Cambodian rice’s status to greater world recognition, leading to a boost in demand for the best rice on the global market and attracting an increased number of international buyers. Now Cambodia will seek to make it a hat-trick of wins at the next World Rice Conference. Fingers crossed.

Actually to make it a hat-trick of awards, “Pour un Sourire d’Enfant” or PSE as everyone knows it by, have proudly announced that their book “The Sweet Tastes of Cambodia” participated in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2013 ceremony – which took place in Beijing last month – and won the award as Best Fundraising Book in Asia. The Sweet Tastes of Cambodia was created by a team of PSE staff who went on a journey through 11 provinces and collected 29 traditional Khmer desserts recipes, tales, legends, cultural and tourist information as well as astonishing pictures of landscapes and individuals. Books in English and French cost US$20, while the Khmer edition costs US$14. PSE offers schooling and vocational training to thousands of impoverished children in Cambodia.

Exploring Mahendraparvata, the sacred mountain of Phnom Kulen

Friday, May 16th, 2014

The Hanuman team was recently up on the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen to explore some new sites discovered as part of an aerial LIDAR survey of the ancient Khmer city of Mahendraparvata.

 

Mahendraparvata hit the headlines in 2013 as a ‘lost city’ was revealed through the use of aerial LIDAR data. This was 21st century archaeology at its very best and several new sites were discovered as well as a much bigger urban settlement than was previously realised. Phnom Kulen has long been known to archaeologists as one of the earliest capitals of the Khmer empire and a holy site where King Jayavarman II is said to have invoked the devaraja ceremony, making him the human incarnation of the Hindu God Shiva on earth. Long removed from the tourist map by civil war, Phnom Kulen was occupied by the Khmer Rouge for nearly three decades, only falling to government forces in 1998. In recent years, travellers have been able to visit and Hanuman operates the unique Sacred Mountain Safari to Phnom Kulen, a luxury camping adventure: http://www.hanuman.travel/pdf/Hanuman-Temple-Safaris-Guide.pdf

In this video, our team explores some new remote sites on the holy mountain, including the brick temples of Damrei Krab and Thmor Dap, the early pyramid temple of Rom Cheng and holy carvings of Poeng Tbal. The temples date from the 9th century and the reign of Jayavarman II, pre-dating the relocation of the capital to Angkor by almost a century. Rong Chen is believed to be the temple where the devaraja ceremony actually took place, although it is in a very dilapidated condition today.

King Jayavarman II later moved the capital to the temples of Roluos, about 15km southeast of Siem Reap and the temple of Preah Ko was dedicated to his posthumous name of Paremesvara.

Contact the Hanuman team for more details on an adventurous motorbike exploration of the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen or enquire about our original Sacred Mountain Safari, the only luxurious way to explore the mountain on an overnight expedition.

 

Park Hyatt luxury

Monday, April 14th, 2014

The Park Hyatt Siem Reap is synonymous with luxury, style and the epitome of service. Guests are assured of a hospitality experience unlike any other.

From the Hotel
Recently rebranded renowned Hotel de La Paix to Park Hyatt Siem Reap. Experience authentic Cambodian hospitality at the first Park Hyatt hotel in the kingdom. A blend of refined interiors and graceful garden settings suffuses Park Hyatt Siem Reap with an enlivening resort and residential feel, offering gracious service on a personal scale.

From Hanuman
This hyper-modern, designer hotel in set in downtown temple town. But you wouldn’t know it, with its refined and sophisticated individuality oozing from every corner. Extensive amenities include two pools, generous rooms, gorgeous suites, some with private pool, and innovative French-Indochine dining inspirations.

Hanuman to keep the Bamboo Train on Track?

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The Bamboo Train has been a quirky highlight of a trip to Battambang for many years, but is in danger of going off the rails once again thanks to the renovation of the Phnom Penh line.

Charley Boorman testdriving the road version of the Bamboo Train

Charley Boorman testdriving the road version of the Bamboo Train

Almost a national treasure, Hanuman has plans to keep the Bamboo Train alive by taking it on the road. As you see from the image above, we have already test-driven it with some celebrity guests, including motorbiking adventurer Charley Boorman on By Any Means.

In another exciting development, we plan to turn the Bamboo Train into a signature luxury product with the integration of a royal elephant chair as seen below.

Antique Howdah for the Bamboo Train

Antique Howdah for the Bamboo Train

The Bamboo Train, the new word in upcountry luxury from Hanuman.

Gems at Angkor

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Capturing the Angkor Temples for a jewellery commercial shoot.

Leading Hong Kong jewellery company Chow Tai Fook chose Cambodia for its latest commercial. Hanuman Films coordinated the shoot around the temples of Angkor and Siem Reap, including locations such as Ta Prohm, Bayon, Angkor Wat and the floating villages of the Tonle Sap Lake. The Hanuman team worked in partnership with Radical Media of London and have worked on several previous commercials with them, including Pepsi, TUI Travel and Cisco.