Woman in Cambodia are now breaking away from the stereotype and taking steps forward to forge their way into the male dominated realm of the film and television industry.
During the long war that Cambodian’s experienced in their recent history, this put a halt on many areas including creative expression. As the country was trying to restore itself back to some sort of normality, woman’s contributions were mainly relegated to the kitchen and child raising.
As the emerging film and television industry flourished, it has developed and grown from mainly a male only perspective without the input of woman. Many modern woman in the industry feel that the content of TV helps to create stereotype perceptions of woman that is meek and docile – film and television plays an important role in shaping the way females are seeing themselves. Now woman are trying to step away from their traditional roles and sculpt the way females are projected by giving them good role models to follow.
Many of these new pioneers feel that men and woman have a different perspective on gender roles – which is slowly changing in Cambodia. Now young girls are being encouraged by their parents to further their education for better job prospects in their future.
Trying to gain entrance into the male dominated area, these woman are leading the way for other young girls follow in the future by setting an example and making their mark.
Meas Sreylin, a 28 year old independent film maker has more than 8 years in the Cambodian film industry. On her first job as first assistant director of BBC Media, she was 1 of the only 3 woman on the 50 large crew (the other were 2 actresses and a make-up artist).
She came across many challenges working in the male dominated industry, but she has now been able to see the fruits of her labour in educating young girls that there are more options available to them.
Poan Phoung Bopha, the renowned filmmaker and Cambodia’s first female director, has worked as both a script writer and director for 28 years and has started to see the evolution of a female presence in film and television.
“In recent films, female characters are being portrayed as intelligent woman who are going to university and some even getting masters” Ms. Phoung Bopha said and has been a leap forward in the perception of woman.
Showing more educated females in lead roles, she goes on to say. “This has also manifested in real life, with fewer parents hinder their daughters from perusing a higher education.”
Despite the often challenging environment, the number of female film makers is increasing according to many of the woman now working in the industry. They are continue to make strides and hoping to make a difference by showing young woman that they can make a difference.
By nurturing their dreams and striving for a better future, these woman are giving hope to all, with faith that positive change can be made providing more opportunities for female contribution in the flourishing film industry.