Interview with Venna Hem
Written by Pooyan Tabatabaei
Venna Hem is the director of Lives Under the Light. His film is a mid-length film from Cambodia that will be featured at this year’s festival.
Venna Hem gave a short synopsis of the film and he said, “[Lives Under the Light is] a film documentary focuses on the lives of a ladyboy who work as sex workers in Phnom Penh. Most of them were kicked out from their families and came to live in Phnom Penh and ended up working in the sex industry. This film sensitively deals with the daily discrimination they face. Sex work places them at risk to gang rape, sex violence, drugs and arrests by police. This documentary offers a window onto the lives of these sex workers in modern day Cambodian society.”
Lucky for us, this film will be premiering in Canada for the first time. Hem was kind enough to do a short interview with us and this is what he had to say:
What was the production process that went behind bringing your film to life?
The film “ Lives Under The Red Light “has been produced for 4 months under the support of LOVE 146, a NGO in Cambodia which working on Transgender sex worker and Bride with price tag has been produced in 2 months under the support of USAID and Winrock international.
What awards, accolades, and recognition has your selected film, received?
- Film Festival Official Selection of Lives Under The Red Light
- Aperture Film Festival 2013-Melbourne, Australia
- Plural Co-existence in Southeast Asia 2014-Kyoto University
- Iris Prize Festival 2013-London, England
- 25th Annual Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival 2014-Hong Kong
- international Pink Film Festival 2014, Manila, Philippines.
- International Q film festival in Indonesia 2013
- Madrid International Lesbian Gay and Transsexual Film Festival
- Yangon LGBT film festival 2014
- 2nd Festival International de Cine LGBTIQ de Canarias, Island ( 2015)
- Hawaii International film festival
- Trans film festival Amsterdam
What’s it like to have your film in a festival EBIFF) that appeals to so many cultures?
It is really a great honored that my film was selected in EBIFF, I did not expected that both of my films can enter to this festival and it is the film time that my films were selected together in Canada.
What are some ongoing or upcoming projects you are working on?
At the moment I am working another film project, around 30 minutes, about Cambodian fishermen who trafficked to work in different countries and treat like slave. The case related to some agencies in Singapore.
In a few sentences, describe your artistic vision when creating films. (Artist Statement)
I believed that all artists or film maker they have their own style of making films, so the way I make film is mostly related to sensitive topic and content with some key message which waken up the audiences what happening to the world now. There are many stories in each countries that we should learn and exchange.