Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland filmmaker scoops BAFTA nomination for outstanding debut

Sarah Tulloch

By Sarah Tulloch

Northern Ireland man Chris Kelly has been nominated in the Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer at the 2019 BAFTAs for his feature documentary, A Cambodian Spring.

A Cambodian Spring, which received lottery funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through Northern Ireland Screen, took over ten years to complete including six years Chris spent living and filming in Cambodia.

It also features an original soundtrack by electronic artist James Holden.

The film is an intimate and unique portrait of three people caught up in the chaotic and often violent development that is shaping modern-day Cambodia.

It charts the growing wave of land-rights protests that led to the ‘Cambodian Spring’ and the tragic events that followed.

Derry-born Chris Kelly said; "I am absolutely thrilled to be nominated for this award. The film took more than ten years to make, and would never have been finished without the hard work and commitment of so many other people working on it, not to mention the bravery and commitment of the film subjects.

"I hope that this nomination brings some much deserved attention to the situation in Cambodia and the ongoing work of the film subjects.”

A screening of the film, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Chris and documentary participant Venerable Sovath, will be held at Queen's Film Theatre in May.

“We are absolutely delighted for Chris on his BAFTA nomination, this is a debut well worth honouring," said Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen.

"To spend 6 years on location making a film is a staggering commitment. A Cambodian Spring is a wonderful film and we are proud to have been able to support it."

A Cambodian Spring had its world premiere at the prestigious Hot Docs festival in Toronto, Canada in May 2017.

The film won the Special Jury Prize for International Feature Documentary and has gone on to win many more awards and screened at film festivals all over the world including Busan, Docs MX and Antenna.

The EE British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday, February 10 at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The ceremony will be hosted by Joanna Lumley and will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One and BBC One HD.

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