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Jolie spotted in Siem Reap

May 4, 2011 Leave a comment
International superstar Angelina Jolie was spotted at Siem Reap airport
yesterday after an advertisement shoot for luxury brand Luis Vuitton
reportedly finished.

Photo by: Michael Sloan

Angelina Jolie arrives by helicopter at Siem Reap International Airport following a day trip to Battambang province yesterday.

Accompanied by her children, including
adopted Cambodian-born son Maddox, Jolie was seen exiting a helicopter
late in the afternoon.

A small number of tourists watched on –
before security guards brought out screens to shield the family – as the
group was whisked away in a mini-van and two four-wheeled drives,
complete with darkened windows.

The drivers were wearing uniforms of Siem Reap’s exclusive Amansara hotel.

A well-placed source said Jolie had flown from Siem Reap to Battambang province in the morning and returned later that day.

In
2003, the mega-star founded an NGO called the Maddox Jolie-Pitt
Foundation, which operates out of Battambang province. It tackles
conservation, education and infrastructure projects in the area.

Yesterday, the foundation’s human resources manager said he could not comment on Jolie as he had been on leave.

The
star of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is thought to have arrived in Cambodia
on Saturday for filming after a production team scouted out potential
locations.

An advert was shot on the banks of a Siem Reap river
while an interview for Louis Vuitton was also filmed, said a source
close to the shoot who wished to remain anonymous.

Khmer Mekong Films provided the back-up production for the shoot.

The
filming was yesterday hailed as a boon for the Kingdom’s film
production sector by Cedric Eloy, chief economic officer of the
Cambodian Film Commission. “This shows that Cambodia is a safe place to
shoot movies,” he said. “In some quarters it still has the image of a
place with violence, but projects like this will help to change the
image.

“We’ve had six feature films shot in Cambodia in the last
six months, and the film industry is opening Cambodia up to the world,”
he added.

 
Phnom Penh Post
Categories: Entertainment

Angelina Jolie on way to Siem Reap

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment
Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie is set to return to the Kingdom today
to shoot an advertising campaign for fashion label Louis Vuitton in Siem
Reap, but those connected with the visit have remained tight lipped
about her agenda.

Angelina Jolie
visits Somali refugees at Shousha Camp at Ras Djir, 8 kilometres from
the Tunis-Libyan border, earlier this month.
Photo by: Reuters

Jolie has strong ties to the Kingdom through
her adopted Cambodian child Maddox, philanthropic enterprises and
leading role in the 2001 action movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which was
partially shot in Cambodia.

She has been a regular visitor to Cambodia and is believed to have last graced its shores in 2006.

Chief
economic officer of the Cambodian Film Commission, Cedric Eloy,
yesterday confirmed his organisation will shoot the label’s advert with
the star in Siem Reap but said giving any other details would make a
rushed situation even more hectic. Jolie, he said, would set foot in
Cambodia today.

“Actually her schedule is really managed by her team, so it’s independent from the production that surrounds it,” he said.

Internationally
renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz was scheduled to shoot Jolie,
according to comments made by information minister Khieu Khanarith
reported by the Cambodian news website DAP News.

But Eloy yesterday denied this was the case.

In
2003, Jolie established the Maddox Jolie-Foundation, later renamed the
Maddox Jolie-Pitt foundation, which was established to tackle
environmental degradation in Battambang’s Samlot district.

The
organisation has since spread its wings to tackle broader conservation
issues, education and infrastructure projects in Battambang province as
well as rural development United Nation millennium goals, according to
its website. Staff at the Maddox Jolie-Pitt foundation yesterday said
they were unaware that the famous founder of their organisation was
coming to visit the Kingdom.

“Our colleagues have not been
informed by Ms Jolie or Brad Pitt so I think it is just a story,” said
Narith, a general resources manager at the foundation who declined to
give his full name.

Louis Vuitton staff members were unable to reply to questions by the time The Post went to press.

In
September last year, producer Thomas Magyar announced he was hoping to
secure Jolie for a US$70 million production to be filmed in Cambodia,
tentatively titled The Great Khmer Empire. Eloy said today’s shoot had
nothing to do with that project.

Jolie’s first major encounter
with the Kingdom was back in 2001 when she acrobatically darted around
the temples of Angkor Wat in the 2001 action movie Lara Croft: Tomb
Raider.

The movie was a box office smash-hit, though critics
were less enthused by the high paced adventures of the voluptuous
heroine, adopted from a popular video game.

Her relationship
with Cambodia became more intimate in 2002 when she and then husband,
Billy Bob Thornton, adopted a Cambodian boy they named Maddox.

Jolie’s
union with Maddox then attracted the eye of criminal investigators
pursuing Lauryn Galindo, the facilitator of the adoption who eventually
pleaded guilty to charges related to her misrepresentation of the status
of orphans in 2004.

Phnom Penh Post
Categories: Entertainment

Canton woman dances with Cambodian dance troupe

April 25, 2011 Leave a comment
Submitted photo.
Chris Brown, at rear, danced April 18 with Cambodian dance group The Children of Bassac at The Watkinson School, in Hartford.
HARTFORD — Watkinson School teacher Chris Brown, of Canton, danced with
members of the Cambodian dance troupe The Children of Bassac in its
premiere performance in Connecticut, April 17 and 18. The group, an
emerging traditional Cambodian Dance group that has been supported by
Cambodian Living Arts since 2003, gave a sold-out performance to the
public April 17, and Brown danced with them in a performance just for
the students and staff of Watkinson April 18. The tour featured ten
highly-talented young Cambodian dancers who perform a combination of
ancient, classical and lively folk dances.

While in Hartford,
the dancers stayed with Watkinson families. All funds raised benefited
Cambodian Living Arts and its important work of restoring Cambodia’s
folk arts following their decimation by the Khmer Rouge.

Watkinson
School, in Hartford, has many ties to Cambodia and the Cambodian Living
Arts. Charley Todd, former Head of School at Watkinson for 28 years, is
now Chair of the Leadership Council for the Cambodian Living Arts and
moved to Cambodia to help the cause. In each of the last six years,
Watkinson students have traveled on three-week-long service learning
trips to Cambodia, where they work with a village that is built around
a living arts master teacher. Over the years, students have built
strong relationships, and follow the villagers about what work is
needed and doable by students each year. Watkinson students raise money
by being hired to do odd jobs each spring, selling goods they import
from Cambodia, and other activites. In past visits, they have built a
community center and latrines, planted fruit trees, installed water
filters, established a women’s health committee and health/nutrition
classes for them at a local hospital, bought instruments that are hand
made in the village, and supplied them with medicines, bicycles, and
sewing machines.

Members of the Global Studies program at
Watkinson School will depart for their next trip to Cambodia in summer
of 2011 and hope that the event will bring awareness to the greater
Hartford community.

Categories: Entertainment

Dengue Fever serves up Cambodian-American fusion

April 21, 2011 Leave a comment
While traveling with a friend
through Cambodia in 1997, Ethan Holtzman watched from the back seat of
a truck as his travel companion Ross trembled and sweated in the front
passenger seat of a truck. The vicious symptoms of a mosquito-borne
disease were taking hold, recalled Ethan’s brother Zac Holtzman, the
both of whom would form the indie-rock band named for that sickness,
Dengue Fever, when they returned home to Southern California.

Singer Chhom Nimol (center) is the Cambodian element in the Cambodian/American rock band Dengue Fever ( Contributed photo)

 As
the truck bounced down the road from the northwestern city of Siem Reap
toward the capital city Phnom Penh, Ross endured while Ethan listened
to the 1960s Cambodian pop-rock music that the driver had cranked up on
the car stereo.

Ethan Holtzman returned to California with a
collection of Cambodian-rock tapes, and he and his brother started
kicking around the idea of finding a Cambodian singer and starting a
band based on that material, said Zac Holtzman, who plays the guitar
and sings for the group and had coincidentally also been introduced to
the genre by a friend at a recording studio.

Since its start
in 2001, Dengue Fever has steadily risen to fame, toured all over the
world, had a song featured in the popular HBO vampire series “True
Blood” and garnered praise for fusing Cambodian-pop oldies with
California surf-rock. The group will perform at Moe’s Alley on April 27.

Zac
and Ethan Holtzman pulled together musicians, including drummer Paul
Smith, bassist Senon Williams and horn player David Ralicke, but still faced the problem of finding
the perfect Cambodian singer for what they envisioned, Zac Holtzman
said. Their search started and ended in Long Beach at a Cambodian
buffet and night club called the Dragon House in an area called Little
Phnom Penh.
There, the group heard Chhom Nimol sing in her native tongue, Khmer, and knew she had the voice they were looking for.

Nimol
spoke very little English but was already familiar with the kinds of
songs they were interested in performing. They convinced her to come
and sing at an audition where, upon arrival, the other half dozen
hopefuls recognized her from the nightclub and decided to leave rather
than bother trying out.

Considering she was the only one left, it was a good thing she was a perfect match, Zac Holtzman said.

Today,
after a decade of playing together, the group has come a long way,
overcome some language barriers — they don’t need a translator present
at rehearsals anymore — and has created something in its newest album,
“Cannibal Courtship,” that Zac Holtzman says wasn’t even possible on
earlier albums.

“After traveling on the road and spending so much time together, we grew into a family pretty quickly,” Zac Holtzman said.

The
group writes lyrics in English, and then works together, sometimes with
the help of a translator and usually with their heads buried in
translation books, to rework their words into Khmer, Zac Holtzman said.

Rewriting English lyrics into Khmer means the sound of a phrase changes entirely, he said.

“Things
are lost, and things are gained,” he said. “A phrase in English that’s
eight syllables can translate into over 20 syllables in Khmer. You have
to get rid of the extraneous words, and the songs end up being like
these haikus. It’s a nice process. You trim off all the fat and it gets
boiled down to just the bare bones of what you’re really trying to say.”

Dengue
Fever has released three albums, a documentary music DVD called
“Sleepwalking Through The Mekong,” which shows the group performing in
Cambodian cities, and won the eighth annual Independent Music Award for
best World Fusion Album.

In 2010, the group released a
compilation of 14 songs by its favorite Cambodian rock artists from
“the Golden Era” of Cambodian music called “Electric Cambodia.” All the
proceeds from those sales go to the Cambodian Living Arts. They also
work with the Wildlife Alliance organization to help promote awareness
of endangered species in Cambodian forests.

Ross, who first
put the idea for the band’s name in Ethan Holtzman’s head, Zac added,
did pull through his bout with Dengue Fever back in Cambodia.

Santa Cruz Sentinel

Categories: Entertainment

Singer close to her Khmer roots

April 16, 2011 Leave a comment
LONG BEACH – As Chhom Nimol sits at Sophy’s
Restaurant, it’s a rare slow day for the Cambodian lead singer of Dengue
Fever, a unique band with an ever-growing fan base.

Long Beach resident Chhom Nimol, is the lead
singer for Dengue Fever, a band that is putting Cambodian American
psychedelic surf rock on the map. Chhom, took a break from a crowded
touring schedule to visit home for Cambodian New Year before she and the
band embark on a West Coast Tour to promote their new album “Cannibal
Courtship.” (Brittany Murray / Press-Telegram)

The Signal Hill resident has been in a whir of activity as her
band prepares to release of its latest album, “Cannibal Courtship,”
which hits the shelves Tuesday, the same day the band begins a West
Coast tour at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

“My schedule with Dengue Fever is so full,” says Chhom, who
brings along a friend to interpret but rarely needs help. “Today is my
day to relax.”

It being the first day of the three-day Cambodian New Year,
it’s a good time for reflection, something she has little time for with
her band’s growing popularity and hectic tour schedule.

“I’m very happy with the band,” Chhom says. “We travel around the world. Dengue Fever has helped me see the world.”

Which is something for the woman who for much of her life was
better known as Chhom Chorvinn’s little sister. And in many ways, she
still sees herself as that.

“I don’t know about being famous or making money,” she says with a laugh.

The ascent of Chhom and Dengue Fever is an unlikely tale.

Chhom was born in Battambang province in the wake of the Khmer Rouge’s regime that left 2 million Cambodians dead.

The Chhom family was split up, and Nimol and her parents fled
to a refugee camp. It was there she learned to sing, taught by her
brother Monychot.

“There was really nothing else to do in the camp,” Chhom recalls.

Chhom’s parents, Ou Sarin and Chon, also had been renowned as ayai singers, a popular, playful rural folk style of music.

It was also in camp the Chhoms heard Chorvinn on the radio and
learned that not only was she still alive, but had earned fame as a
singer.

The Chhom family later returned to Cambodia, and Nimol gained her own renown, winning a national singing contest.

“Everyone knows our family in Cambodia,” Chhom says.

In 2000, the singer made her way to the U.S. to ply her trade in the Cambodian music circuit.

Meanwhile, brothers Zac and Ethan Holtzman became enamored of
the 1960s rock music that came out of Cambodia prior to the rise of Pol
Pot.

In 2001, they chanced across Chhom, who was singing Cambodian songs and karaoke at the Dragon House in Long Beach.

At the time, Chhom spoke virtually no English, and one can
only imagine the confusion as the brothers tried to describe the odd
idea they had of doing covers of psychedelic retrorock of Cambodia.

“It was crazy, that’s what I’m thinking,” Chhom recalls. “What are these guys trying to do, playing Cambodian songs?”

Although it was a gamble, Chhom went in with Dengue Fever and hasn’t looked back.

Since inception, the band has earned critical raves for its
eclectic blend of Cambodian, Afro, garage, surf and psychedelic styles.

With Cannibal Courtship, the band refines its style, while incorporating more English.

Although Chhom jokes she would sometimes have to spend a week
to record one line of English lyrics, the music sounds seamless, natural
and unique to Dengue Fever.

As the Americanized Chhom prepares to get her nails done and later go to the gym, she hasn’t forgotten her Khmer roots.

Chhom and the band still do charity work for Cambodian causes, such as Cambodian Living Arts, the Wildlife Alliance.

Despite a crowded schedule the next day, Chhom said she
planned to find time to go to the Cambodian Buddhist temple of Long
Beach and receive a water blessing before embarking on tour.

Categories: Entertainment

Cambodia sings Facebook

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment
There’s the woefully straightforward, “Facebook ends love.” The lively and urgent, “Facebook friend! My girlfriend kicked me out!” And the subtly confounding, “Facebook waits love.”
What they have in common is that they are songs about Facebook, and they’re all the rage in Cambodia.
In this country of roughly 15 million, only about 260,000 people are Facebook users. But the social-networking site has nonetheless proven itself the muse of the moment, according to Global Voices
Phnom Penh teenagers. (Paula Bronstein/AFP/Getty Images)
Young Khmer artists are pondering the role Facebook plays in their love
lives and, yes, putting those thoughts to song. It’s a far cry from the
more subversive role Facebook has played in the Middle East and North
Africa ,where it’s been used to organize protest movements.
In Cambodia, Facebook sings a different tune. Like this one, “Facebook disturbs my love,” in which Khemarak Sereymon croons about how Facebook seems to have stolen away the affections of his girlfriend.
Cambodian blogger Khmerbird
explains Sereymon’s intentions in the song. “He [Sereymon] stated in
the song that since there’s Facebook, his girlfriend seems not take care
of him like before. He felt like he is totally abandoned. His
girlfriend spent her time to connect with different people via Facebook.
This of course could cause a serious effect in the relationship.”

And here’s a couple more, sure to tug your heartstrings.
“Facebook ends love”

“Start having Facebook, love exists”  

And still more. Enjoy. 
Categories: Entertainment

Adoption increasingly crosses racial, ethnic lines

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment
CHICAGO – With 130,000 children adopted each year in the USA, researchers find growing numbers involve kids whose race is different from their parents’.
The latest data show that about 40% of adoptions
in America involve such families. Among children from other countries
adopted by American parents, 84% are trans-racial or trans-ethnic, says
Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption
Institute, a non-profit research, policy and education organization.
Pertman
shared the statistics as part of a panel on multiracial identities at a
weekend meeting here of the Council on Contemporary Families, a non-
profit group of family researchers, mental health practitioners and
clinicians.
“When you form a family with kids
of a different race or ethnicity, you become a multiracial, multiethnic
family,” says Pertman, a father of two adopted teens.
The
most common type of adoption in the USA is from foster care, which
makes up 68% of adoptions, compared with 17% for infants adopted
domestically and 15% from international adoption, Pertman says.
“The
whole gamut of family issues is being influenced in a profound way by
adoption,” says Pertman, who lives in New York. “There are Chinese
cultural festivals in synagogues and African-American kids with Irish
last names at St. Patrick’s Day parades.”
Pertman is the author of the newly revised Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming Our Families — and America. He says the revision was prompted by major developments in adoption since the first edition was published in 2000.
“An
immense amount has changed in the last decade — intercountry adoption
is plummeting, foster-care adoptions are soaring, a kid was ‘returned’
to Russia, the Haiti earthquake
was an object lesson in how not to do adoptions, openness in infant
adoptions really took hold, and on and on,” say Pertman, whose work
focuses on the overall adoptive family.
Gina Samuels, an associate professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, has focused her research on identity development among trans-racial adoptees.
A
multiracial adoptee who has worked in child welfare, Samuels has found
the goal of being “colorblind,” which white parents often espouse, may
not be the best approach for them to take with their kids of other
races.
“Colorblindness actually creates
discordance,” Samuels says, because parents set their children up to
believe that race doesn’t matter — until the children find that often
race is an issue in the real world and they aren’t prepared for it.
Her
study of multiracial adoptees, “Being Raised by White People:
Navigating Racial Difference Among Multiracial Adopted Adults,” was
published in 2009 in the Journal of Family and Marriage. She found that “colorblind” parenting might actually be more harmful than helpful to children.
“Adapting
and understanding of equality doesn’t require sameness, so for family
members to be able to relate to one another, we don’t have to be the
same,” says Samuels, who is part black; her adoptive mother was white.
“We can be racially different and we can see the world and experience
the world differently.”
Categories: Entertainment