Kilong Ung was just a teenager when the Khmer Rouge overtook his hometown of Battambang in Cambodia.
Under the new regime, he and his seven sisters, along with their parents, were forced into concentration camps, where they worked 13 hours a day on a daily ration of two tiny bowls of rice porridge and whatever rats they could catch.
His mother, father and youngest sister would become part of the estimated 2 million Cambodians who perished under the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. During its reign, the government burned books, buried films and murdered artists, teachers, religious figures and intellectuals in an effort to purge the nation of its culture.
Ung’s story of surviving the so-called killing fields and the aftermath of trying to find closure in genocide is explored in a new documentary, “Risking Lights,” which will debut this weekend at the Art Theater as part of the Cambodia Town Film Festival. Now in its sixth year, CTFF has earned a reputation for daring programming that presents projects from independent Asian and Asian-American filmmakers not often supported by the mainstream.
“The film is about, what would you do after a tragedy [like the Khmer Rouge]?” says praCh Ly, co-founder and co-director of the Cambodia Town Film Festival. “How do you seek resolution? How do you seek closure?”
Read Esther Kang’s report on Long Beach Post.
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