Help us bring musicians from the documentary film "Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll" to NYC to play a concert at the theatrical premiere!
There is a saying that music is the soul of a nation. What happens when a nation loses it's music?
Don't Think I've Forgotten, tells the story of an incredible music scene that developed and thrived during the 1950s, 60s and early 70s in Cambodia. It also tells the country's modern history. Once known as a "sea of tranquility", Cambodia was called "the pearl of south east Asia" until it was tragically drawn into a raging war in neighboring Vietnam. Eventually, in 1975, the country fell under the brutal control of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge and was nearly destroyed. In just under four years an estimated 1/3 of the population- close to 2 million people- perished. With the revolution seeking to eradicate all Western influence from the country, most of Cambodia’s beloved pop singers became targets. Only a handful of musicians from this golden era managed to survive.
"When I started making the film I quickly discovered that many of the musicians that had created this exciting scene had not survived the war and genocide that befell their country. Over the next nine years I made the film that would tell their story."
In January 11, 2014 "Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten" premiered at the historic Chaktomuk theater in Phnom Penh. Directly following the screening a live concert featuring these surviving musicians from the film took place.
They performed together for the first time since before the Khmer Rouge, ostensibly spitting in the face of a regime that had once tried to eradicate them.
Watch below for Voice Of America's coverage of the event and film:
And watch the film's trailer here:
The overwhelming success of the combination of the film and concert in Phnom Penh made it clear that this unique event should have a much larger audience. Just as The Buena Vista Social Club put Cuban music in everyone’s playlist in 1998, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, has the potential to create a similar phenomenon with Cambodian music.
"After seeing them tell their stories on screen it was truly amazing to hear them play this music again for a live audience. This music is one of the only ways Cambodians have to connect to a positive time before their country fell. I remember standing in front of the stage thinking “this is so amazing...it could never happen again”. Then I came back to New York and realized..wait a minute…why not?!
The film will have it's theatrical premiere at the prestigious Film Forum, in Manhattan, in April, 2015. Our goal is to reproduce that concert featuring 10 Cambodian musicians from Cambodia and other parts of the world.
To fund this event, we need to raise $25,000.
The Film Forum premiere will guarantee major press coverage. Bringing the musicians to participate in panel discussions after screenings and organizing a live concert for them will not only elevate the film’s premiere, but expand the music's reach altogether. April is Khmer New Year, which marks the 40th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge's take over of Cambodia.
Help us commemorate the significance of this time by making this event a success! Costs include:
- Rehearsal spaces
- Equipment rentals
- Professional stage and sound technicians
- Venue fees
- Film crew
The music scene might have only lasted a short time but its effects are far reaching.This event will bring an awareness and understanding of the music and Cambodian history to a international audience.
Before you go, go ahead and give this amazing music a listen.
Enjoy and see you in NYC in April!