Survivors of human trafficking were empowered to express themselves and heal through creating short films on the topic of Festival 2016 (CSFF), Cambodia’s largest annual short film festival. The survivors created short films based on their and other’s experiences of human trafficking and migration during the festival’s 10-day Chaktomuk Film Project, where they took on the roles of scriptwriters, directors, actors and producers. CSFF 2016 was co-sponsored by USAID’s Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) program implemented by Winrock International
The Chaktomuk Film Project took place in Siem Reap in October where 28 participants, including youth activists and the survivors, took part in an intensive course on filmmaking followed by on-field shooting and final editing. The participants collaborated with professional filmmakers and celebrities during the process.
One survivor said that she found the film production and training to be a joyful experience, and that it made her more confident to talk about her story from her heart and be around other people.
Sithen Sum, Advisor of film collective Kon Khmer Koun Khmer (4K) that holds the festival each year, noted the growth of the survivors during the project. “From day-to-day, they became more active and inclusive with the other production crew and coaches as their team spirit was built and they made friends with the people involved”.
Another survivor recalled making friend with local celebrities including singers Ma Panha and Ting Tong during the film project. He hopes that his future career path will be in film.
The resulting six short films were screened during the festival’s opening ceremony on 4 November, which was attended by celebrities, government officials, filmmakers and members of the public. Special prizes were given to participants of the film project as well as to films on the topic of human trafficking and migration.
The Chaktomuk Short Film Festival has been held annually since 2012 by 4K, and features a series of run-up events for young film enthusiasts to learn about filmmaking. This year the festival received over 200 entries from Cambodia and around the world.
Watch the films created by the survivors online here.