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PSE Continues to Bring Smiles to the Children of Cambodia

PHNOM PENH: Christian and Marie-France des Pallières founded Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) in 1996 after seeing children scavenging, eating, and living at dumpsites. Their mission was to create a safe and prosperous environment for young children to help them grow healthily, gain an education, and be able to contribute to society with a smile on their faces.

PSE currently has three main campuses with five schools and 18 vocational training courses on offer, in addition to a general education program from preschool to grade 12. Their five schools are: the School of Hospitality & Tourism, the School of Business, the School of Construction, the School of Mechanics, and the Film School. To this day, PSE has the first and only film school that offers a three-year bachelor program that is recognized by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia.

EAC News recently sat down with the Dean of PSE’s Film School, Nicolas Sacré, to learn more about the first and only film school in Cambodia.

“The founder, Christian Des Pallières, was a cinema fanatic," said Sacré. "He really loved cinema and he saw that there was no film school in Cambodia. He decided to create his own film school [in 2012], but he started from scratch, so everything was to be built [from scratch]."

"We found a partner film school in France, [Louis Lumière National School], a very famous film school who supported us for many years by sending teachers to train our staff and students and also helped to develop the content that is taught to the students."

The PSE Film School Dean added that it had always been important for the founders that PSE is run by competent Cambodians who share the same vision as stated in the school’s charter, hence, he was proud to share that at the present moment, at least 80% of the Film School’s staff are alumni.

PSE Film School is a technical film school that focuses its teachings on cinematography and the post-production process. One recent notable alumnus from the school is Vann Kongkea, whose short film, ‘Sound of the Night’, co-directed with Sok Chanrado, held its world premiere at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland and has won many local and international awards since.

“The film school is a technical school, so we don’t really train them on how to become filmmakers," said Sacré. "When they do become filmmakers, it’s a happy, lucky experience. But we teach them really the basics. Some of them have [gained a good understanding] about the arts [and] about the commitment [the arts] require, the passion [needed] to become successful in the film sector.”

Sacré said he would like to expand the film school and see the addition of new departments, such as a sound department, an acting department, and even a screenwriting department one day. However, before that day comes, he believes it is important to strengthen the school’s current structure and foundation to be as strong as possible. Finances and human resources are also other concerns.

“The yearly budget of PSE is $7 million, it’s a lot of money we need to find," he said. "We have 600 staff, 6,000 kids across all programs, 6,000 meals prepared per day, and five vocational training schools. The [cost of the] film school's equipment is quite expensive. So yes, it’s a bit challenging.”

If you would like to know more about PSE, their activities, and how you could join or show your support in any way, please visit the organization's website: pse.ngo.

Stay tuned for the full interview with the PSE Film School Dean coming soon on EAC News. 



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