PHNOM PENH: Dubbed “A Journey of Wonder,” Siem Reap gears up to welcome back travelers with a latest initiative that captures the emotion, history and beauty of Angkor.
In a stunning new short film, the campaign entitled “A Journey of Wonder” depicts an evocative story of voyage and discovery in one of the most important cultural sites in Asia.
The cinematic masterpiece was conceived by hotelier Rey Moraga with the direction of cinematographer Oyen Rodriguez.
The initiative gathered a powerhouse cast of people, including international artists Christian Develter and Muy Theam Lim, celebrated fashion designer Eric Raisina, artisan silk Oum Sophea Pheach, lacquer master Eric Stocker as well as acclaimed groups such as the Sacred Dancers of Angkor and Phare, The Cambodian Circus.
The four minute video is narrated by the front office manager of Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor Rey Moraga, exploring Siem Reap while reflecting on his time in the kingdom.
Rey brings the public through magnificent monuments and breathtaking landscapes of Siem Reap, in the appropriate time of reopening of borders and resuming of tourism in the city.
EAC News had the opportunity to interview Rey Moraga, who explained more about the video campaign:
“A journey of Wonder’ is a new Siem Reap campaign which was initiated by me, Oyen and a community of artists and people in Siem Rea. This short film captures really the beauty, the magic and the history of Angkor which is one of Asia’s most important cultural sites.” Said Rey Moraga.
“How we came up with the video, is during the pandemic we were thinking how to launch Siem Reap as a revitalized destination. So, during the pandemic there was a lot of articles saying that mindset has changed. So, people want more safe, safe travel more secluded destination and slow travel. I think Siem Reap is a perfect match for all these reasons. We engaged with different communities in Siem Reap, whether you are an artist, you are chef, you have an important or wonderful site that we can film. It’s basically a project for the community by the community.”
Rey started planning the video campaign in July last year writing the story and after filming in November: "It took us about a month because there were several locations…We went to the temples, Phnom Kulen National Park, Tonle Sap Lake Biosphere Reserve.
All these areas, so it took about a month to shoot the video. And then Oyen edited the video and it was ready by January. We were waiting for the borders of Cambodia to reopen…”
Among the scenes of natural beauties, culture and traditions have also been portrayed, such as the unique Khmer architecture, fine arts and crafts at Theam’s Gallery and Stocker Studio and the venerable technique of silk weaving at Golden Silk.
The Apsara dance, declared by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity, has been also captured in the video.
The campaign has been launched during the Angkor International Festival of Arts, organized by Artistic Director Aaron Carpene with the presence of Princess Norodom Chansita, daughter of the late princess as well as patroness of the arts Norodom Buppha Devi
Speaking with EAC News, Rey Moraga believes the Angkor International Festival of Arts is a landmark event for Siem Reap’s tourism after hard moments of survival during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“So, it’s an inaugural Angkor International Festival of the Arts, it’s a great way to relaunch Siem Reap so we say it’s a renaissance for Siem Reap having all the artists converged both in person and online. There was a lot of events happening throughout the week whether its Angkor traditional arts and also contemporary and also the Readers & Writers Festival happening around town. And we were so honored that we were giving a chance to really have the world premiere of this campaign during the festival thanks to Aaron Carpene and Coralie Chaponot.”
The front office manager of Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor has also shared his feelings regarding Siem Reap’s charm and magic that enchanted him since his first day in the city.
“Well, I arrived in Cambodia in 2018 and living here has really been a gift. We are so fortunate to be surrounded with this majestic heritage structure. It’s almost our backyard. And the ‘Journey of Wonder’ video it’s really a reflection of my journey and I hope this will invite more tourists and more visitors to Siem Reap.”
At last, the hotelier has also expressed his hopes for tourism in Siem Reap and the whole Kingdom, which has been reopen for fully vaccinated tourists after a successful vaccination campaign promoted by the Royal Government:
“I think it’s very hopeful. Over the last week we had the Angkor International Festival of the Arts, which was very well attended, also last week we welcomed the first international flight to land in Siem Reap airport, and today the Prime Minister has officially announced the Community Outbreak in February has been addressed and resolved. I think overall there is a positive energy and we are excited to welcome once again all tourists in Siem Reap.”