August 21, 2015
Her Excellency Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona, excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I would like to welcome and thank everyone for being here with us this evening. We’re honored to work with Bophana Center to sponsor the international premiere of The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing Ngor, an award-winning documentary by Oscar-nominated American filmmaker Arthur Dong. We’re pleased to have Arthur here with us tonight for this very special occasion.
Arthur’s film is about the compelling personal story of Dr. Haing Ngor, famous for his Oscar-winning performance in The Killing Fields. A survivor of the Khmer Rouge era, Dr. Ngor escaped years of torture and would later gain international acclaim as both an actor and an advocate. As you will see in tonight’s film, his incredible journey represents the strength and resilience of the Cambodian people.
The power of film is truly amazing. Movies bring people together, they entertain us, and some even make us laugh or cry. I also believe that films teach us about our society, both past and present, becoming a vital part of our historical memory. Dr. Ngor understood and appreciated the value of the film and the arts, as he once said, “The arts can explain everything possible to tell the world.” One thing that this film tells us is that it is important we don’t forget the lessons of the past as we move forward.
I want to express my sincere thanks to Chea Sopheap and our friends at Bophana Center. Bophana Center has been a valuable partner with the U.S. Embassy for a number of endeavors and projects, and this event is another example of this terrific partnership. I would also like to thank the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and AEON Mall’s Major Cineplex by Cellcard for helping to make this event possible. Your efforts truly help deepen the bond between the United States and Cambodia.
In closing, there is a well-known Khmer proverb that advises Cambodian children to adhere to and preserve the Kingdom’s rich culture. “If culture dies, so does the nation. And if culture is splendid, so is the nation.” Our deepest appreciation goes to Arthur Dong and everyone involved with bringing Dr. Ngor’s story to the world, which helps Cambodia preserve its extraordinary cultural heritage.
Thank you very much and I hope that everyone enjoys the film.