Cambodian filmmaker, Sokyou Chea received The Bucheon Award at the Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) in South Korea this year. The top prize worth $13,300, went to Sokyou Chea’s Soul Searching from Cambodia Abdul Zainidi’s Worm and the Widow from Brunei.
NAFF aims to support developing projects across genres, from fantasy, horror and thriller to action, black comedy and sci-fi. Director Sokyou Chea collaborated with producer Rithea Phichith for Soul Searching. The film is set to follow the stories of people who have claimed to feel the presence of a spirit or has had an out-of-body experience. Chea, more notably known for her scriptwriting, garnered recognition as a filmmaker with her short film, The Ride in 2015. Phichith has made a few films and has worked on films such as First They Killed My Father in 2017.
This year, the festival judges observed Chea’s film for its connection to this year’s theme as well as noted that she is one of the few women filmmakers to have come from Cambodia.
Awarded on July 18 at the 22nd BIFAN, the film was selected from 26 projects with 67 companies and institutions over a three- day period. Chea stated that the film was able to enter the festival through the IT Project, a project launched under NAFF in 2008 to focus only on genre films. Directors and producers will have the chance to showcase their films to potential producers, investors, and distributors from around the world, some of which, could lead bigger collaborations, investment, and international networking.