After already building a sterling reputation in the film industry, the Konwiser Brothers continue to prove themselves as renaissance men of the filmmaking and entertainment world. Kip and Kern Konwiser have earned an impressive array of industry awards and honours along the way in the American film industry, including the PrimeTime Emmy Award for Best Picture on two separate occasions, the NAACP Image Award, the Humanitas Prize and The Producers Guild of America Award.
For the first time since arriving in the kingdom, the Konwiser Brothers have used their talent to make a documentary that explores the power of STEM in inspiring the young innovators across the nation. Som Kanika corners the American film-making duo for an exclusive interview.
Believing that each one of us has something great inside, Kip and Kern Konwiser want to make films that empower people to realise their own worth and talent.
“We want to connect the voices of people from different classes, races and people all over the world to bring the best of them altogether, understand each other and share the morality and respect with each other so that they feel alive and loved. To us, this is the definition of what film-making is all about,” says Kip.
Make it Work, their latest documentary series, sets out to inspire Cambodia’s younger generation by concentrating on the beauty and power of STEM – a call to action to make dreams come alive.
Krean, one of the producers, talks about America’s youth, saying that while they are technologically savvy, it doesn’t leave much time for creativity. Make it Work looks inside the story of young people who have the mindset and creativity to put their ideas into action.
“We all need someone to look into our eyes and say ‘I believe in you’. We don’t get to hear these words enough in our society,” he says. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to know that they matter.”
With this in mind, Krean adds that the movie is a visual letter to young people all over the world, telling them that they are worth more than they think they are.
“Work hard, dig in and ask yourself why you are here on this earth,” he continues. “Our story is about the young people who lack resources but thanks to technology they can bring real innovations to the world.”
While the Konwiser Brothers’ overall attitude throughout the documentary is positive, they also encourage talented filmmakers to work more with their passion.
“Cambodia is well on its way in terms of film development,” says Kip. “But there is still work to be done – we believe that through passion and determination, it will be possible for your country to produce many great things.”
One indispensable tool in Cambodian film-making is the smartphone. It can help fledgling movie makers to share their story to the rest of the world and give the country’s film industry a tremendous boost.
Producing a film is like building a playground for many talented people from different places to come in and play their roles, so collaboration with people is really important to make the whole production work.
The Konwiser Brothers came to the Kingdom with the purpose of working together with country’s community of filmmakers.
“We are here to be friends with the filmmakers’ community here and we will try our best to amplify their voices so that the whole world can hear,” explains Kip. “But it begins with Cambodia itself first, because only Cambodians know and can tell their own story.”
Working in the industry for many years, the Konwiser Brothers want to share their wealth of knowledge to Cambodia’s aspiring young film-makers, and that includes not walking away when the going gets tough. “Don’t quit! Everything might be uncertain and not always go your way, but with passion and determination, you will be able to accomplish your masterpieces,” says Kip.
Krean also adds that the second most important thing is being determined to finish what you start. Momentum will only keep building if you keep going. A way to keep highly motivated is for novice movie-makers to find each other and collaborate. Finding your tribe, rather than working solo, offers a far greater chance of success.