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Cambodia' television doco- beyond a tragic history


Cambodia' television documentary- beyond a tragic history

'Cambodia' - a people move on from their tragic past A Triangle Television documentary

Triangle Television is to screen a New Zealand-made documentary that reveals the ability of Cambodian people to look beyond their tragic history and adapt to modern-day living.

'Cambodia', a documentary produced by Mark Nissen of Eye Film, provides an extraordinary glimpse of day-to-day life in Cambodia and also captures the anguish of its violent past. It will be broadcast on Saturday, May 15 at 9pm.

Nissen produced the documentary after a review of his personal 'travelogue' video footage of two excursions to Cambodia, in 2000 and 2002, revealed a wealth of outstanding material suitable for compilation into a television programme.

An estimated two million Cambodians died in 1975-79 when the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, led by the late Pol Pot, came to power. The United Nations proposed last year to establish an international tribunal to try surviving leaders of the movement.

'Cambodia' presents a country full of hope, beauty and joy as well as the reminders of a horrifying past.

One of the most striking things about Cambodia, Nissen found, is the absence of an older generation. It is rare to see anyone in their 50s or older.

"Despite the terrible things that have happened in Cambodia - Pol Pot, carpet-bombing by the American forces during the Vietnam War, land mines - the attitude of the people is quite surprising - they're looking upward and outward."

Tourism now plays a large part in Cambodia's economic recovery, as is international aid. About one million tourists visit the magnificent and ancient Angkor Buddhist temples each year.

Nissen's story of Cambodia and its extraordinary people is captured in three segments - 'The Angkor Temples', 'The People' and 'Cambodia's Tragedy'. Filming took place at the Angkor Temples near Siem Reap, the Tonle Sap river and lake, and in the capital city, Phonm Penh.

" 'The Angkor Temples' covers the Angkor Wat temple complex and the history, carvings and culture associated with each temple. " 'Cambodia - The People' portrays the day-to-day lives of people in a water borne fishing village and in and around Phnom Penh. " 'Cambodia's Tragedy' discusses the tragedy the country suffered at the hands of Pol Pot and includes footage of a Land Mine Museum and a secondary school that was a "torture centre" and which is now preserved and known as the Torture Museum in Phnom Penh.

Nissen says the documentary conveys a positive outlook for the Cambodian people and attempts to show their happy and friendly nature as well as historic aspects of the vast and impressive Angkor Wat temple area.

'Cambodia' is Nissen's first documentary. He is responsible for the filming, editing, voice-overs and production.

A web manager for the Automobile Association of New Zealand, Nissen produced the documentary last year and is now working on a half-hour documentary on budgerigars, which he breeds as a hobby.

He also has plans to begin a documentary next year featuring life along the Mekhong River area from the Chinese border to its mouth on the Vietnamese coast.

Triangle Television is Auckland's only regional, non-commercial television station and has operated as a public broadcaster to Greater Auckland since August 1 1998. The channel screens a mix of regional-access television with international news and information programmes. It is non-profit making and operates with no funding from NZ On Air. Triangle broadcasts 24 hours daily from UHF channel 41.

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