Recently Youth Today spoke with Huy Yaleng, a film director and actor for Meatochakfilm who started in the film industry in the 2000s.
YT: How did you first get involved in film?
Mr Yaleng: I was born in 1979 and spent my early childhood in a refugee camp on the Thai border. In the early 2000s, I was an assistant director at Angkor Wat production and in 2002 I was hired as a director by Campro films.
When I was at art school, I fell in love with film. I knew in my heart that I would be doing this work forever. It has made me really passionate about the film industry; I want the Cambodian film industry to improve. So after starting out as a production assistant I kept at it because I wanted to make my own films and have my own company some days.
YT: How hard is it to finish a film, and how long does it take?
Mr Yaleng: When I first started to produce my own films, I met many obstacles, mostly a lack of materials and funds to produce movies, but I never gave up hope.
Even though the production quality of my films were not of the same standard as those made in America or some other countries, local audiences appreciated the stories I told. And I think I used better techniques and strategies than some other films.
Sometimes members of the crew don’t get along with each other, or are just unhappy. So that can slow down the work. Also, casting can be difficult. If I choose actors who are not disciplined, or always show up late, it causes many headaches.
There are some recent technologies we have not been able to adopt because they require a lot of people use them.
YT: What films had you done?
Mr Yaleng: I produced, directed, and acted in “Vikalcharek” [Psychotic], which was based on a true story. It was released on Dec. 2, 2016 and screened in all the cinemas in Phnom Penh, and in certain provinces. [In 2017] I finished one more film called “The Witch”, which will premiere in late January.
I also acted in and directed “Pteas Khmaoch Tinh” (Ghost Bought a House/The Haunted House). I worked on “Khmaoch Daem Chek Chvea” (Ghost on the Banana Tree) and “Mao Svet” (Stingy Person).
As a producer, my filmography includes “Pteah Khmaoch Tinh”, “Khmaoch Daem Chek Chvea”, “Mao Svet” (Stingy Person), “Aprerng Is Dead”, and “Akok Achrova”.
Some of my films have been exported to other countries such as Thailand, Laos, and China.
YT: What is your key message to other filmmakers and producers in Cambodia?
Mr Yaleng: Some other countries have hit movie producers so it will be hard for us to compete for a few more years yet. Some cinemas are becoming interested in running in the provinces, so if the cinema audience increases, producers will gain strength and contribute to making better films.
Some young producers have become very confident and sometimes show a lack of respect to older filmmakers. Some of them are very talented, but they must still respect their seniors. Actually our audiences are young people, because they come to watch movies more than older people.