The second annual French Week in Siem Reap, which kicks off on March 7 until March 10, delivers a bewildering and amazing range of entertainment, arts and crafts to the good people of Siem Reap, whether they’re Cambodian, French or expats from other parts.
Organisers of this rich extravaganza say they are building on the success of last year’s debut and are hoping to attract 4,000 people.
Like last year, many of the activities are based at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, but the festival will also spread out to funky parts of downtown Siem Reap, such as The Passage.
More than 70 companies will have exhibition booths at Raffle, and activities and entertainment include film screenings, dance and music performances, fashion parades, barista and petanque competitions , and something new and special this year : an artisans contest between more than 15 local creative companies.
Officially known as the First Art Craft Contest of French Know-how in Cambodia, the event is headed by a brave Loic Dumas, managing director of Maison Sirivan. The contest will be held at the Exhibition on Room at Raffles and will then move to Phnom Penh.
Award-winning fashion designer Eric Raisina is, of course, spearheading several fashion shows but, he tells Khmer Times one weakness of last year was the lack of parties and that’s certainly being taken care of with a closing party scheduled for The Passage, and on the third evening of the festival on March 9, the Ohlala Party kicks off.
But Mr Raisina points out that while all entertainment at the four day festival is free, partygoers must buy a ticket for the Ohlala Party.
“There will be an entrance fee,” says Mr Raisina. “This is our second edition of the festival and we are still very poor, so we are asking everyone to help us by buying a ticket.
“Early bird tickets will cost $10, and people waiting until closer to the part to book will have to pay $15. And the good news is that the first 150 people to book will get free champagne.”
Highlight s of the four-day festival includes an opening ceremony featuring H.E Madam Eva Nguyen Binh, the French ambassador to Cambodia.
She said that following the success of last year’s debut festival, the organisational structure has been strengthened.
“Since then, the community has further organised through the creation of the Siem Reap branch of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cambodia.
“The French week’s programme is rich and varied and pays tribute to France as well as Cambodia, especially to Siem Reap, this attractive and endearing city, so typical of Cambodia’s unfathomable cultural richness.”
Following the opening ceremony will be a fashion show and the highlights of day two, March 8, include a tribute to International Women’s Day, and play, ‘Cambodge me Voici.”
On the final day will be the screening of the Cambodian action movie, ‘Jailbreak’. Not to forget the closing party.