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Circus is back in town

Rhea Mae Soco / Khmer Times Share:
Performers Sopha Nem and Dina Sok whose journey is documented in the film ‘Cirque du Cambodia’. ​ ​​​ Facebook

Cirque du Cambodia is a three-part-series documentary film featuring the lives of two Cambodians, Sopha Nem and Dina Sok, who hail from Battambang province proudly showing the world that nothing is impossible with dedication and determination in reaching their dreams.

It starts in 2011 when two teenagers from rural Cambodia tried their luck to move outside the Kingdom hoping to follow their dream to become part of ‘Cirque du Soleil’, a Montreal-based entertainment company and the largest contemporary circus producer in the world.

Media professor Joel Gherson, who is also a journalist, filmed Sopha and Dina’s journey for six years from humble beginnings to discovering their skills and performing internationally with the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, creating a documentary film titled Cirque du Cambodia.

A rehearsal at Phare Ponleu Selpak. Facebook

“While 2020 wasn’t too many people’s favourite trip around the sun, it was the year that Cirque du Cambodia finally made it to screens after nine years of shooting, editing and everything else,” said Gherson in a previous interview by Khmer Times.

He added that apart from the world premiere at the United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) last October 21, the World Children’s Day in November held an online screening raising $3,000 benefiting Phare Ponleu Selpak, a Cambodian school featured in the film and $1,000 each for Sopha and Dina.

Cirque du Cambodia is now aiming for distributors across the globe, as well as more screening opportunities this year.

Meanwhile, Phare Ponleu Selpak Executive Director Osman Khawaja has said that Phare Circus is back in town after nine-months of hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 shut down performances in both Battambang and Siem Reap due to the drop in foreign tourists. We hope that with our most recent performance in Phnom Penh, we can attract enough locals and expats to fill the seats to allow the artists to earn much-needed income to support their families,” said Khawaja in an interview with Khmer Times.

Phare Ponleu Selpak in collaboration with Urban Village are joining together to bring Cambodia’s famous circus shows to Phnom Penh.

Children training at Phare Ponleu Selpak. Facebook

Urban Village’s founder and executive director, Catherine Chan said: “Art is very important to our daily lives and we cannot live without it. I am very delighted with this cooperation to bring the best circus performances in Cambodia for residents and visitors of our international community to experience.”

She said there will be four fully-sponsored private shows at Factory Phnom Penh’s Artspace inside the Urban Village’s international community, performed by well-trained students from Phare Ponleu Selpak, an organisation working to improve the lives of disadvantaged Cambodian children through arts and education.

The performance at Urban Village is called Cabaret. It features a mix of short sketches and circus tricks. The Cabaret is special because it is an evolving showcase of the performers’ talents and tricks that will entertain and make the audience laugh throughout the whole show.

The remaining shows are scheduled on January 23, 30 and February 6 at 5:00 to 6:30 pm.

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