Sothea; a Cambodian Narrative

To tell a story about Cambodia through film; a story that's not currently being told.

We did it!

On 15th May 2017 we successfully raised £970 with 31 supporters in 42 days

Short films are pivotal in the world of filmmaking, an ultimate test for telling a story within strict time limitations. It is practice as to what information needs to be told and how best to tell it. We hear short stories told in person every day, we watch shorts in commercial format, within features, and there needs to be a space where they can be told in film.


  • When Sothea witnesses corruption at work, she has to decide morally and financially how to proceed. Will she be complicit or risk her job and security? This slice of life story lead us into one thread in the tapestry of modern-day Phnom Penh.
  • Sothea is a live action dramatic short that takes place in Cambodia.

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT // Kate-Marie Engberg

  • After having lived in Cambodia for a year, I want to share just one story to bring a piece of modern-day Cambodia to others. I originally wanted to make a documentary on the side while working there at International Justice Mission, but I came out of it with a new set of eyes. I came to the conclusion that Cambodia is so much more than its past. And since the present does not disown the past, the intricate present has so much to explore.
  • To experience the excitement at the Cambodian International Film Festival in 2014 was an absolute joy. I was amongst the new, young Cambodian directors hungering to see and show new stories. Cambodians are already forging a path to build up their film industry. I simply want to following suit and collaborate.
  • I find a deep joy in directing and being able to create a team of people where everyone can utilize individual gifts and talents to build up, enhance, and fulfill the collective vision we all care about and believe has a purpose.


  • Cambodia is a country with such a rich history, and yet one that’s intensely sobering all at once. Many storytellers are telling the story of Khmer life by focusing primarily around the events under the Khmer Rouge regime. This is a cultural and economic anchor point for Cambodia and is of great importance. But after living in country for over 2 years, I began to see another story being told before my eyes. The story of a contemporary Cambodia, which, while it does not disown its past, has a weighty vibrance, a subtlety and a drive to flourish in its present. We wish to tell the story of an intricate, flourishing country that gets under your skin and firmly grips your soul.


  • Weighing in with my experience of working with both film and photo in Phnom Penh, as well as overseeing the day-to-day schedule on set amongst other duties, I come on board this project as Co-Producer. Having worked with Kate-Marie for a number of years, in Cambodia and internationally, both on previous shorts and through the early development stages of this project, I look forward to collaborating again with a fellow creative who is as passionate about ethical and non-sensationalist storytelling as I am.


  • I need your help. As you may be able to guess, filmmaking is expensive. While this is an amazing opportunity for me as a visual storyteller, I have very limited personal funds to make my role possible.  This page, and any money raised from it, will go toward my flights to Cambodia, travel and food costs and kit maintenance. At minimum, I need around £1000 to make this possible, but my stretch target, in an ideal world, is £3000. The American members of this crew are also trying to raise funds, in order to off-set their personal costs. 
  • In a broader sense, we are looking to fund production design/props, paying cast and crew, and post production services (sound, color, music); anything over the target set here goes towards that.
  • We want to best serve the story and by doing so we need the proper funds...or else we may get half a film! Each and every donation, no matter how big or small, brings us one step closer to making our film come to life.


  • As well as internationally collaberating with a small team of American and Brit film crew members, we will be working a bit with ithinkasia, a full service production company social enterprise in Phnom Penh. I look forward to working and collaborating with a Cambodian crew and cast and improving my links with creatives in Phnom Penh.
  • Kate-Marie and I made a short doc when we lived that screened at the Phnom Penh International Film Fest, which we shot whilst living and working there and we both found the process to be quite exhilarating. Not only did we work together, but were able to learn more about our Cambodian city-sharers and bring their stories to a wider audience. We want to bring others closer to the Cambodian people and culture, while also maintaining the very relatable human story at the core.
  • With our borders feeling like they're getting more solid, let's maintain at least the desire to learn about other cultures, and use the medium that's so accessible - film.


  • Obstacles? Not having enough money. Weather delays. Casting. Language barrier. Theft. On and on it goes. Kate and I know the 'ins and outs' of Cambodia from living there. We know what to expect, what to prepare for, what to avoid. We have a network of friends there who do too. Since we are lucky enough to have the experience of living in Phnom Penh, and still have strong ties of friendship there,  it feels right to collaberate with others in order to tell a story about a country we love; a story that's not currently being told.


  • If you can't donate, please help get the word out or just tell me to stop bothering you. It may seem pointless when we're dealing with so many political issues in both the U.K. and the U.S., but perhaps that's why it's more neccessary to keep art alive. Keep passion and love alive.



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