The 2023 Chaktomuk Short Film Festival (CSFF) was successfully wrapped up on October 30th. The festival, organized by Video4Change Network member Sunflower Film Organization, was presided over by H.E. Hab Touch, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and attended by many of Sunflower Film Alliance’s community partners, filmmakers, content creators, numerous actors and many honorable guests.

The film Now What? Directed by Sievphin Chong and Jeremianh Overman won the award for best Cambodian short film. CSFF is an important film platform that inspires multiple generations of filmmakers and directors to help boost Cambodian films and acquire greater public support. 

This year’s edition saw a large collection of both Cambodian and international short films screened over four days at the Legend Premium Cinema Olympia and four other venues in Phnom Penh.

Group photo of CSFF 2023 organizers, interns and volunteers

Audience members fill up the cinema lobby of Legend Premium Cinema – Olympia, Phnom Penh

Chaktomuk Short Film Festival 2023   October 30th, 2023

Press Release

‘Now What?’ Won The Best Local Short Film in the 12th Edition of CSFF 

The Chaktomuk Short Film Festival (CSFF) was wrapped up on October 30th, 2023, at the Legend Premium Cinema Olympia, presided over by H.E. Hab Touch, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, attended by the jury representative, community partners, filmmakers, content creators, numerous actors and many honorable guests.

This year’s festival awarded with cash prizes and appreciation certificates in a variety of categories, including:

  1. Best Cambodian Short Film: “Now What?”, directed by Sievphin Chong and Jeremianh Overman, for the cash prize of $1,000;
  2. Second Place Cambodian Short Film: “The Pen”, directed by Hemkiry Song, for the cash prize of $500;
  3. Audience Award for Cambodian Short Film: “The Door Knocker“, directed by Sok Pilot and Oungty Sana, for the cash prize of $300; 
  4. Special Jury Mention for Cambodian Short Film: “Erased“, directed by Meng Chan Leap, with an appreciation certificate;
  5. Best International Short Film: “I Promise You Paradise“, directed by Morad Mostafa, for the cash prize of $300; 
  6. Audience Award for International Short Film: “Lucienne in a World Without Solitude“, directed by Geordy Couturiau, with an appreciation certificate;
  7. Special Jury Mention for International Short Film:Please Hold the Line“, directed by Tan Ce DING, with an appreciation certificate.

Please keep in mind that all local winners received additional prizes from Camera Hut, Aputure, and AMARAN lighting equipment. In addition, the three technical partners also cooperated with the festival to conduct a two-day lighting workshop led by Singaporean trainer, Mr. Richard CHEN, which achieved outstanding outcomes from 30 filmmakers from both freelance and corporate backgrounds. 

CSFF 2023 ended successfully, providing its audience with a unique chance to (re)watch all the five winning Cambodian and International short films.

The 12th Edition of CSFF is a platform that inspires generations of filmmakers and directors to help boost Cambodian films and acquire greater public support. 

Mr. SUM Sithen, Director of CSFF 2023 and Founder of Sunflower Film Alliance stated that: “Although Cambodia is a developing country, CSFF is organized for all local and international filmmakers to build a foundation and showcase new short films from all over the world.”

In spite of the Covid-19 Crisis, CSFF continued to host the festival online, displaying the organizers’ full efforts. At the same time, we observe that directors are becoming more innovative in their production from year to year. And I would like to applaud all of the award-winning directors who truly have the talent to produce those short films. On behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, I am extremely delighted and supportive of their production since it is a starting point for young filmmakers to enhance their potential.” – said by H.E. Hab Touch, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

Mr. Chum Sothea, a representative of the local jury, said: 

First, for ‘Now What?, we see that he has discovered a way to convey a personal experience while presenting a complex character, which I believe is more than a story that he clearly sees as a question to himself and his audience.

The second thing about ‘The Pen’ is how well it was composed and managed.

Third, for ‘Erased’, she shot her own story of how she overcame her own obstacles via her creativity and intelligence on the proper use of techniques ‘Stop Motions’, different from other contestants.

In short, short films are every filmmaker’s name card; it should be something personal that expresses the producer’s individuality, particularly the director and core crew members. As a result, we would want to encourage filmmakers by awarding prizes so that every filmmaker may begin creating films in any style and be honest with the films they have created.” 

He added, “I hope that more young filmmakers will be participating next year to help push our film industry forward.” 

I’d like to thank the whole festival for making me feel so delighted, for giving me an award, and for the entire team. Furthermore, I believe in the concept of self-confidence because no one else will if we don’t believe in ourselves.” – Sievphin Chong, director of ‘Now What?‘ and the winner of the Best Cambodian Short Film.

Mr. Sansitny RUTH, CSFF’s International Programmer, expressed interest regarding two international short film winners:

First, the director of ‘Please Hold the Line’ knows how to present the life story of the character who lost his mother and the issues that the character overcome, which is why this narrative earned the Special Jury Mention for International Short Film. The story also explores the complexity and pressures that Southeast Asian teenagers face, as well as the bond between father and son.

Secondly, for ‘I Promise You Paradise’, the reason why this film won the Best International Short Film is because of the depth of the image.  It illustrates the contrast between the beautiful and the painful. As for the use of words in the story, there is little but to deepen us into the language of sight and emotion. In this film, the director is really good at directing. At the same time, the story emphasizes the importance of the family as an individual, as well as heartbreak and struggle.”

It should be noted that the festival was held from October 27th to 30th, for four days in a row, including opening and closing days. Furthermore, a significant crowd attended to watch all of the selected short films, as well as voted directly for the films they enjoyed most at Legend Cinema – Olympia Mall, K-Mall, SenSok Mega Mall, Major Cineplex – Sorya and Cine Hub. 

Since its new edition launch, CSFF has been officially supported by Ministry of Culture and Fine Art, funded by Cambodian Living Arts, through “Dam Dos” Grant and Cambodian Children’s Fund, and news covered by Everything About Cambodia (EAC – English news) and Apsara Media Services (AMS – Khmer news). Legend Cinema, Legend Premium, and Major Cineplex by Smart have again supported these screenings this year with their cinematic experience. Unlike previous years, the festival believes that “this festival should belong to all of us.” The festival is also looking for more financial support in order to make the festival go smoothly through: ABA – SUNFLOWER FILM ORGANIZATION – 000 804 814.