Budding filmmaker Yun Ranuth has won many awards for his short films, but he has had less success winning an academic scholarships to study abroad.
“I have applied for many scholarships abroad but unfortunately I have never received one; not even in Phnom Penh,” said 20-year-old Ranuth, who won Nes Café Cambodia’s Creative Video Competition in Siem Reap last year.
By the time he graduated from Angkor High School in Siem Reap in 2015, Mr. Ranuth had already gained attention for his videos. Nonetheless, he enrolled in a tourism management and hospitality course at the École Paul Dubrule in Siem Reap, soon realizing it wasn’t a good fit with his talents.
Since 2016, Mr Ranuth has studied business management at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, while working to support himself. But he is keen to return to Siem Reap to get involved in the film and animation industry there. He also worries about his family.
“There are still no good schools in that field, so I had to move to Phnom Penh for my education, but it is not a permanent move; right now nobody is taking care of my grandmother and my family,” he said.
Among Mr Ranuth’s short-film credits so far are “Spy wine cooler Cambodia” (product shoot with Spy and model), and “Provide Water,” a video aimed at providing information to local communities. He also won the Samsung Photo Competition, a contest to find the best photo taken on a smartphone.
“Usually I direct the films and my friends help me with production. I’m planning to shoot more short films and creative videos, which are in the drafting stage. I really love this work,” he said.
While he is proud of his accomplishments, Mr Ranuth said it he is happiest when he can use his talents to help his family.
Mr Ranuth is self-taught; he learned to make films by watching YouTube and Google. With each project, he gains experience and improves.
In particular, Mr Ranuth said he had learned a lot about plotting; how to direct a cast; and especially to elicit emotional performances from them. The trick, he said, is getting his team to work together to make his films look fresh and natural.
“It’s very tiring when I have to shoot, direct and produce a film alone, to manage the whole story. For post-production, I work alone till the final product is released; I don’t get any sleep.” Such is the nature of filmmaking, Mr Ranuth explained.
Mr Ranuth’s dream is to be a successful film director with his own film company, in order to help the next generation of young Cambodian filmmakers.