Monthly Archives: November 2009

From Peter Lansdown – Production Assistant in Cambodia – Getting Started

Sam, Mark & ElspethWe, Elspeth (Director), Sam (Editor), Mark (Photography) and Peter (General Factotum) arrived in Phnom Penh last Friday, travel-weary but with the promise of a good night’s sleep in a local hotel before the trek to Kampot. Jess from Epic Arts met us at the airport and escorted us first to our hotel and then for a drink in a local bar, supper in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club and then back to bed. She introduced us to Tuktuks (moped powered taxis) to local food and the local language, it was a good start.The drive to Kampot took us through changing scenery and it was not long before we were driving through rich green countryside surrounded by paddy fields with mountains in the distance.Kampot is 5 miles inland from the coast of the Gulf of Thailand, more or less due south of Phnom Penh and has the feel of a run down ex-colonial town, but this rather belies the development and improvement which is going on and there is an energy here which is evident in the courtesy, optimism and smiles which greet you everywhere.Our house provides a bedroom each (Elspeth’s has an ensuite shower room) and a local style loo and shower (scoop and splash) and minimum kitchen facilities as people here tend to eat out; should we wish not to, the Epic Arts café will provide us with takeaway Cambodian meals which we will eat on our balcony overlooking the street.It is really warm and rather humid but the wind is on our side and keeps things tolerable. It was still last Wednesday night and quite uncomfortable as we have no air conditioning but the wind was back the following day. It has been quite cloudy too which has helped as the sun is strong, even in mid winter! Despite that, we have had some exceptional sunsets.This expedition is to make a documentary for Epic Arts which they will use, as they describe it, as an advocacy tool. They plan to tour it around the local area, and it has to demonstrate the ability of the disabled. People with disabilities receive very little in the way of support here and are much ignored.Epic Arts as you can imagine works through art to “promote integration of people of all abilities using the arts as a form of expression, empowerment, education and employment.” I took this from their website which you might like to visit (www.epicarts.org.uk)We have been here a week now and Elspeth’s researches have identified three individuals: Epic Arts’ wheelchair-bound receptionist; a wheelchair-bound performer and a deaf performer, both part of Epic Arts’ Vocational Training Programme, who are ideal characters for the documentary and they are delighted with the prospect of filmstardom! Elspeth has woven a suitable storyline, the first footage has been shot and so far everything is going according to plan…