The 20 Japanese films being screened on the JFF website

Phnom Penh: Cambodians have always supported Hollywood, Thai, Indian, Filipino, Indonesian, and South Korean films, as they have been widely publicized on television and on social media. But when Japanese films are mentioned, maybe Cambodians have not been very interested or they might even ask themselves if Japanese films are screened in Cambodia.

Indeed, the Japanese Film Festival, as well as Japanese films, has been in Cambodia by the Japan Foundation Asia Center, Phnom Penh Liaison Office since 2015 and has been officially celebrated in many of the major cinemas with the participation of national and international guests. In particular, the presence of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kingdom of Cambodia, along with the high presence of the Minister of Culture and Fine Arts.

The Japanese Film Festival of 2015 in Cambodia was when the JFF team was founded and the first time to organize such a big event. The team had limited knowledge of the film industry, didn’t have enough skill in how to promote films. This was a really big challenge to figure out how they can succeed in the event. From year to year, the JFF’s team gained a lot of experience. They built the team capacities and blazed a path to success, becoming the major event it is now. This year the Japanese Film Festival celebrated its 7th anniversary. As recognition for the festival has gradually increased, the number of fans has also increased.

The main goal of the Japanese Film Festival is to increase the demand for Japanese films in Cambodia by getting more Cambodians to watch films at the cinemas and online on the JFF platform.

The in-person portion of the Japanese Film Festival was held in Phnom Penh but in the future, the organization plans to conduct it in other provinces as well. As the main goal is to promote Japanese films as much as possible, they hope to allow audiences to watch Japanese Films develop an interest in Japanese culture among the Cambodian people, encourage Cambodians to study Japanese, and ultimately draw many tourists interesting in Japanese culture also to visit Japan.

The online Japanese Film Festival can be found on the website until 27th February 2022. The audience is able to enjoy watching the featured films by registering their name and email address on the website and streaming the many varieties of Japanese Films from their personal devices over the internet. Of the 20 titles for this year, 10 titles have Khmer subtitles and all films have English subtitles, with a few having subtitles in other languages. On the website, the audience can enjoy articles that are related to the Japanese Film industry as well. Visit JFF’s website, stay home and enjoy the films with your families and share them with your friends.

In fiscal 2016, The Japan Foundation Asia Center launched the “Japanese Film Festival (JFF) Asia Pacific Gateway Initiative” (hereinafter referred to as the “JFF Initiative”), a comprehensive platform for Japanese films to stimulate interest in Japanese films in Asia Pacific region and increase the number of viewers.  The target countries for this project were the 10 ASEAN countries. Australia, India, and Cambodia were among them. The reason why JFF targeted those countries is that Japanese Films are not popular outside of Japan and the market for the Japanese Films industry is very limited. As JFF is a governmental organization, the team is hard working to promote and raise awareness of Japanese Films all over the world for the growth of the Japanese film industry. Viewing at the cinema does not create enough of a demand, but also getting a broader audience to watch the films online is necessary to expand the audience and multiply the number of fans.  The audience can enjoy movies anytime and anywhere with the JFF online platform.

Author: Engly Tuy (Sakura)