Chaktomuk Short Film Festival is making a return with its first in-person event since Covid-19 and has seen an increase in short film submissions.
Sum Sithen, director of Chaktomuk Short Film Festival (CSFF), said that the number of short films submitted locally has increased as he believes filmmakers have more time to produce material after Covid-19.
“This year, the festival received 185 short films, but only 55 were chosen for the competition and screening. In fact, this year, we got 36 Cambodian short films, an increase of nine over the previous year, when we only received 27,” he said. “This proves that our producers started filming as usual after Covid-19.”
In addition to Cambodian films, the festival, which runs from November 25 to 28, includes short films from other nations, the majority of which are from France and the US. Each film lasts between five and 30 minutes, he added.
“We use this as our policy for choosing the films as well,” he said. “If their film is shorter than five minutes or more than 30 minutes, we will absolutely not choose it.”
He said that as CSFF is the largest festival in Cambodia, it has a significant impact on both the recognition of filmmakers and the promotion of their work.
“When their film enters CSFF, it will build their reputation. Also, most of their short films are more likely to be screened abroad,” he said. “Previously, the film has already been screened in China, and we have been invited there for collaboration.”
Ruth Sansitny, CSFF international programmer, said at a press conference on Monday that the goal of holding the festival is to empower filmmakers in the art community and promote their work internationally.
“Also, to present CSFF and bring it to the international standard. We want to do this by raising the quality of programming,” he said. “Since this is my second year as an international programmer, we really discussed the new goal to keep following and advocating all the programming.”
He said that he will choose a quality film based on two main criteria.
“First, does the film reflect anything about human nature, such as sensitivity to life or sensitivity to feeling to understand and emphasise what’s going on around them,” he said.
“The second thing, does the film reflect on society, including what they teach us regarding historical events or how they allow us to feel what happens as a person, community, or country.”
Through the festival, he hopes that filmmakers will engage with the international partners he has brought together.
“We can all learn something about ourselves, humanity, and something about society,” he said. “Hopefully, we can find a good way to move forward together.”
People can directly vote for their favourite films at Chaktomuk Conference Hall, Legend Cinema-Noro Mall, and Major Cineplex by Smart-Sorya.
The reward for the winner will be greater than the previous year, with the Best Cambodian Short Film receiving $1,000 and an award, the Second Best Cambodian Short Film will receive $500 and an award, the Best International Short Film will get $300 and an award, the Audience Award for Local Short Films will also receive $300 and a letter of appreciation.
Also, the winners of the International Short Film Audience Award, the Cambodian Special Jury Mention, and the International Special Jury Mention will receive a letter of appreciation.