Tropfest SEA ’15 was the first short film fest in the country that we had the liberty of immersing ourselves in (read about our experience there further on in the mag), and while it doesn’t compare to its Australian counterpart (yet!), we’re certain that with a few more years of exposure, it’ll grow into its own. It’s already got an iconic flair about it that runs through most of the films at this year’s fest – especially because of the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI) – in this case, it was ‘wheel’ – that needs to be incorporated in some way or another in all submissions.
Colourful Knots by Polen Ly
Kindness & Poverty
Finishing as first runner-up in the inaugural Tropfest SEA only spurred and inspired Polen further, and an extra year’s worth of experience has paid off greatly with the Tropfest title going back to Phnom Penh for the second year running. Colourful Knots discusses kindness, inequality, disease and poverty – all in the space of seven minutes, where a cancer-stricken girl befriends two street kids and exchanges gifts with them daily at a busy intersection. One day, the kids make a beautiful gift for the girl, which they don’t get to deliver, and the girl’s brother learns a lesson about giving back that he’ll never forget.
The Little Reader by Inshallah Montero
Magic & Literacy
No stranger to international accolades with her experience at the Manhattan International Film Festival in 2013, Inshallah decided to take the TSI down a different route with The Little Reader. This beautifully shot piece was about an orphaned kid who’s one gift from his mother was a book – and this book took him to places he never had the means or the chances to visit, to experience life in a much more tangible manner. The waters, the forests, and other magical lands aren’t anything more than a page or two away with the gift of reading for this boy – and it makes us appreciate our blessings just that little bit more.
A Fistful of Pebbles by Somchanrith Chap
Eastern & Western
This chap was involved in last year’s winning short Rice by Sothea Ines (they’re colleagues at BBC Cambodia) and with the help of their mentors, he decided to venture out on his own for this round. A Fistful of Pebbles doesn’t touch on anything new – in fact, it’s nothing more than an Eastern take on a classic Western complete with horses, quickdraws, a villain, and a beautiful girl. But it is indeed refreshing to see it done in a different light, and Rith’s somewhat cheesy effects juxtaposed with the beautiful cinematography made this film one of the audience’s favourites from the get go.
All Tropfest SEA 2015 finalists’ videos can be enjoyed at viddsee.com/tropfestsea2015.