Film

  • Last Night I Saw You Smiling
  • GRANTEE
    Davy Chou & Kavich Neang
    GRANT YEAR
    2018

Kavich Neang, Partial exterior of the White Building, still from Last Night I Saw You Smiling, 2018, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Courtesy of Anti-Archive.

One decade after Cambodia's independence and amid a movement of New Khmer Architecture, Cambodian architect Lu Bun Hap and Soviet architect Vladimir Bodiansky constructed the Municipal Apartments, also known as the White Building. The housing block bore witness to a tremendous series of events: the young nation's Golden Age; a traumatic breakdown under a radical regime; decades of cultural revival centered within its walls; and, the rapid pace of capitalist development that would ultimately lead to its demise. Kavich Neang, a filmmaker born in 1987 and raised inside the building, films the final days of the historic modernist structure amid its demolition in mid-2017. His documentary, Last Night I Saw You Smiling, depicts the departure of his own family as well as two long-time neighbors as they move out from the greying white building on Phnom Penh's Sothearos Boulevard and bid farewell to the place they long called home.

Davy Chou (producer) is a French-Cambodian filmmaker and producer, based between Paris and Phnom Penh. In 2009, he created French production company Vycky Films and established a Cambodian filmmaking workshop and collective. In 2014, he founded Cambodian production company Anti-Archive. As a filmmaker, Davy Chou gained attention with Golden Slumbers (2011, Berlinale and Busan), a documentary feature about 1960s Cambodian cinema and its destruction by the Khmer Rouge. His first narrative feature, Diamond Island, won the SACD Award at 2016 Cannes' Critics' Week. As a producer, Chou was credited on Boundary by Nontawat Numbenchapol (2013, Thailand, documentary, Berlinale); This is Comedy by Jacky Goldberg (2014, France, documentary); Shores—In the Safe Northern Sun by Irene Dionisio (2015, Italy, documentary); Waxing Moon by Adrien Genoudet (2016, France, documentary, Entrevues Belfort); as well as two films by Kavich Neang, Three Wheels (2015, narrative short, Busan) and Goodbye Phnom Penh (2015, narrative short).

Kavich Neang (director) is a Cambodian filmmaker with a degree in design from Limkokwing University and was raised in Phnom Penh's landmark White Building. In 2010, he directed his first short film, A Scale Boy, during a documentary workshop led by Rithy Panh. In 2013, Neang joined Busan Festival's Asian Film Academy, and in 2014, he co-founded Anti-Archive, Cambodia's first independent production company. In 2015, Neang directed his first two narrative shorts, Three Wheels, which premiered at Busan Film Festival and won the Youth Jury award at Singapore Film Festival, and Goodbye Phnom Penh, commissioned by Asian Film Archive. He is developing his first narrative feature, White Building, which received two awards at Busan's 2016 Asian Project Market. He has been invited to the Residency of Cannes Festival Cinéfondation in October 2017. He is simultaneously directing Last Night I saw You Smiling, his first documentary feature, related to the same building.