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The Phnom Penh Post, 12 April 2012
Theary Seng, Founder of the Cambodian Center for Justice & Reconciliation and the founding president of CIVICUS: Center for Cambodian Civic Education, was a personal friend of Chea Vichea and wrote an endorsement letter in January to the Peabody Award Committee in support of the film.
“To have this kind of international recognition is an amazing feat,” said Theary Seng upon hearing of the win. “It will put more pressure on the government to be accountable and confront the problem of political murders.”
She added that the recognition may make international donor countries and aid agencies “more responsible with how money is being put to use in the regime”.
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Who Killed Chea Vichea?
wins a prestigious
The Peabody Awards are the world's oldest prize in electronic media. The international competition honors distinguished achievement in programs presented on television and radio stations, networks and the World Wide Web.
Peabody Award Committee
c/o Mr. Rich Garella
Loud Mouth Films
Re: Endorsement of Who Killed Chea Vichea?
To the Peabody Award Committee:
I write to endorse resoundingly the outstanding Who Killed Chea Vichea?, a documentary film which speaks volumes not only about the impunity and injustices existing in present-day Cambodia but also about the tenacity, the courage, the sacrifice, the brilliance of the filmmakers in casting light on the macabre existence of a long-suffering Cambodian people on film for the international audience.
The film deeply draws us—both Cambodian and non-Cambodian watchers alike—in with its brilliant, dangerous detective work to uncover the high-profile killing of Chea Vichea committed at the highest level of government. The feat made the more astounding because it is Cambodia where nothing is what it seems, even after one has peeled and peeled and peeled away the layers of obfuscation and obstruction. The other feat made equally impressive is the filmmakers’ ability to captivate audience who may not know much about Cambodia in telling this complex yet simple real-life political murder mystery.
I knew Chea Vichea as a friend and colleague and knew about the making of this film from its earliest stages. I saw the rough cut of the film as well as watched it a couple of times since its public release, including as a panelist with students at the University of Michigan. I am spell-bound every time I watch it. Other reactions have been one of awe, shock and disbelief at the real-life drama.
It is an important story for all audiences, both in and outside Cambodia, because it has relevance for all audiences. For example, Cambodia has an annual national budget of 2 Billion US dollars, half of which come from international assistance, the hard-earned money of tax-payers of mainly western nations. These taxpayers need to understand better how their money is being used in a place like Cambodia. Who Killed Chea Vichea? opens the door to this understanding.
Who Killed Chea Vichea? achieves excellence in all spheres of filmmaking from reporting to editing to drama to music. It deserves the recognition for its excellence of the Peabody Award. For me personally, the film is a great measure of justice rendered to Chea Vichea’s family, his friends and human rights in Cambodia.
Theary C. Seng
CIVICUS: Center for Cambodian Civic Education
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