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12th Cambodia International Film Festival Draws to a Spectacular Close

PHNOM PENH: The curtains have fallen on yet another remarkable edition of the Cambodia International Film Festival (CIFF), leaving audiences captivated and inspired. Over the course of the festival, film enthusiasts from around the world gathered in the vibrant city of Phnom Penh to celebrate the magic of storytelling through the medium of cinema. With a rich blend of local and international films, the 12th annual CIFF proved to be a captivating showcase of creativity, culture, and diversity. The closing ceremony featured “City of Ghosts,” directed by this year’s CIFF patron Matt Dillon.

As the festival drew to a close, it was evident that the CIFF had successfully provided a platform for both emerging and established filmmakers to showcase their talents. From thought-provoking documentaries to captivating feature films, the festival's program encompassed a wide array of genres and themes, reflecting the diverse perspectives of storytellers from Cambodia and beyond.

While Cambodian cinema took center stage, the CIFF also presented an international selection of over 144 films from 34 countries that showcased the breadth and depth of global storytelling. Audiences were treated to a diverse range of perspectives, shedding light on short and feature films, documentaries, and animation from around the world. This intermingling of local and international cinema fostered cultural exchange and promoted a sense of global solidarity among the attendees.

CIFF Director Cedric Eloy said, “It was amazing there are lots of nice people, VIP’s, Celebrities very enthusiastic about seeing this very special film ‘City of Ghosts’ and closing event for the festival this year.” He also mentioned this year’s patron Matt Dillion clearly loves Cambodia and is a great inspiration who supports creativity. He was happy at the level of engagement at the event considering there was so much happening around town at the moment.

Audience member Shawn said CIFF is a great event to help people come together and introduce Cambodia to the world. “The film festival actually really promotes and helps [filmmakers] to make it out there and kind of introduce Cambodia to the world.” He mentioned that the entertainment environment has changed and improved a lot over the years and loves to see the direction it is going.

We spoke to Martison Siritoitet, one of the protagonists in the Indonesian film “Mentawai – Souls of the Forest”, on how important CIFF is to the international film industry. He mentioned it was important to be able to show their Indigenous culture to the world and CIFF gave them that chance. “I hope the audience can understand the indigenous in Mentawai, but not only in Mentawai Indonesia but around the world,” he said, “I also I feel very grateful to join the special event Mekong discovery day…I’m not forget Cambodia hospitably and the culture of Cambodia thank you so much.”

The 12th Cambodia International Film Festival concluded on a high note with the recognition and celebration of outstanding filmmaking achievements. They were acknowledged for their artistic vision, storytelling prowess, and technical excellence. This recognition serves as a testament to the enduring impact of the festival in fostering creativity and artistic innovation.

As the final screenings concluded and the closing ceremony unfolded, a sense of gratitude filled the air. The festival had once again succeeded in showcasing the transformative power of cinema- bridging cultures, and igniting conversations. CIFF has undoubtedly left an indelible imprint on the hearts and minds of its attendees, eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the vibrant world of Cambodian and international cinema. As attendees bid farewell to this remarkable event, they carried with them a renewed passion for storytelling, a deeper appreciation for the cinematic arts, and memories that will last a lifetime.

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