PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Royalty — Cambodia's culture-loving King Norodom Sihamoni — will preside over the premiere Saturday of Angelina Jolie's film based on a memoir from a Khmer Rouge survivor.Royalty will preside over the premiere of Angelina Jolie's third directorial project. https://t.co/5NzrXP3o7j— USA TODAY Life (@usatodaylife) February 14, 2017
Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk and senior government officials also will attend the showing of First They Killed My Father at the centuries-old Angkor Wat temple complex, a spokesman for the government agency that oversees the archaeological site said Tuesday.
Jolie, who directed the Khmer-language film on location in 2015-16, is also scheduled to attend. It was not clear if her Cambodia-born son Maddox, who helped on the film, also will be there.
Two free public screens are planned at the site near Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia.
The film is based on Loung Ung's account of her survival as a child under the 1975-79 communist Khmer Rouge regime, believed to be responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians from starvation, disease and execution.
Jolie has had an affinity for Cambodia since she began goodwill work for the U.N.'s refugee agency in 2001, and she adopted Maddox, 15, from the southeast Asian country. She also has established a foundation to promote social development in rural Cambodia.
In a 2015 interview with the AP, Jolie said Maddox would help with research and preparation for the film.
"Maddox will be on set every day after school and involved behind the scenes," she said. "And yes, Maddox is already involved in the foundation and will take over my role when he is older."
King Sihamoni's late father, Norodom Sihanouk, produced, wrote, directed and sometimes even acted in more than two dozen films made when he was in and out of power. Sihamoni has a deep interest in art and culture, focused on dance, both ballet and classical Cambodian dance.
Sopheng Cheang, The Associated Press
First They Killed My Father
Premiere - Saturday, February 18 at 5 PM - 8 PM UTC+07
Netflix is proud to announce that the Cambodian premiere of First They Killed My Father will take place on 18th February in Cambodia. The premiere will be followed by other screenings around the country. Director Angelina Jolie is delighted to be returning to Cambodia, to fulfill her promise to premiere the film first for Cambodian people. The film, shot entirely in the Khmer language and with a Cambodian cast, was made for and by the Cambodian people. Angelina is looking forward to sharing this moment with them, alongside Loung Ung, whose story is told in the film, and her fellow producer Rithy Panh. Details about the screenings will follow.
On the film
First They Killed My Father is the adaptation of Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung’s gripping memoir of surviving the deadly Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1978. The story is told through her eyes, from the age of five, when the Khmer Rouge came to power, to nine years old. The film depicts the indomitable spirit and devotion of Loung and her family as they struggle to stay together during the Khmer Rouge years.
The film was shot on location in Cambodia, between November 2015 and February 2016. It was filmed entirely in the Khmer language, and is the largest movie ever made in the country. The cast is made up entirely of Cambodian actors. Cambodian technicians, artisans and crafts people comprised the largest portion of the crew, along with more than 3,500 Cambodian background actors.
On Cambodian history
The Kingdom of Cambodia has a rich history that dates back 2000 years to the Khmer Empire, one of immense power and wealth, diverse art and culture. The story of Cambodia is overshadowed by the rule of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, which resulted in one of the bloodiest genocides of the 20th Century. Between 1975 and 1979, in the name of creating a utopian agrarian society, cities and towns were emptied, people were forced to work in labor camps in the countryside. Cambodian civilians died by execution, torture, starvation, disease and exhaustion. Estimates of the number of people killed range from approximately one million to three million. The most commonly cited figure is 1.7 million - about a quarter of the population. Cambodia today still bears the legacy of that difficult past, but is a country of immense beauty, resilience and promise for the future.
LOUNG UNG (Author, Screenwriter, Executive Producer) was 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge soldiers stormed into her native city of Phnom Penh. Four years later, an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians had died. Among the victims were both Loung’s parents, two sisters, and 20 other relatives. In 1980, Loung, her older brother Meng and his wife Eang, escaped to the United States as refugees and resettled in Vermont. Loung’s memoir, First They Killed My Father; A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, published in 2000 by HarperCollins Publishers, has been published in fourteen countries and translated into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Khmer and other languages.