GRAND JURY PRIZE FOR WORLD CINEMA 2013 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
Twice a year in Cambodia, the Tonle Sap River changes course, while the river of life flows in a perpetual cycle of death and rebirth and of creation and destruction. Working in an intimate, verite style, filmmaker Kalyanee Mam (Director of Photography for the Oscar-winning documentary INSIDE JOB), spent two years in her native homeland following three young Cambodians struggling to overcome the crushing effects of deforestation, overfishing, and overwhelming debt. A breathtaking and unprecedented journey from the remote, mountainous jungles and floating cities of the Cambodian countryside to the bustling garment factories of modern Phnom Penh, A RIVER CHANGES COURSE traces a remarkable and devastatingly beautiful story of a country torn between the rural present and an ominous industrial future.
Kalyanee Mam DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/CINEMATOGRAPHER KALYANEE MAM Kalyanee was born in Battambang, Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge Regime. In 1979, she and her family fled the refugee camps at the Thai-Cambodian border and eventually immigrated to the United States. Even to this day her mother recounts stories of their flight. Kalyanee's father walked ahead of the family to protect them from land mines. They slept on pieces of plastic laid across the wet, jungle floor, while constantly evading soldiers pursuing them along the way. These stories and many others inspired Kalyanee to return to her native homeland for the first time in 1998, during the summer of her junior year at Yale. And they continue to inspire her to make films about atrocities occurring in Cambodia even today. But she was not always a filmmaker. After graduating from UCLA Law School, she worked as a legal consultant in Mozambique and Iraq. In Mozambique, she discovered a passion for photography. In Iraq, she discovered a passion for advocacy on important contemporary issues. These two passions enabled her to direct, produce, and shoot her first documentary short Between Earth & Sky (co-director David Mendez) about Iraqi refugees. And eventually led her to work as Cinematographer, Associate Producer, and Researcher on the Oscar-winning documentary, Inside Job with director Charles Ferguson. Kalyanee hopes to continue to combine her passion for art and advocacy to tell both compelling and universal stories.
PRECEDED BY SHORT FILM
China, 2013, 5 mins, Color
Director/Screenwriter: Neysan Sobhani
Exploring the concept of the dimensions we occupy through the brief, yet intense, experience of two young individuals, we ask how deep are the bonds that tie? How tenuous are our emotional attachments, our sense of purpose, our motivations, that drive our feelings of joy and grief? This film seeks to spark discussion and ideas, not knowing where it may lead for each viewer, of whether loss is truly loss, permanence is truly permanent and whether the cords that are embedded in the fabric of our 'life' are in fact illimitable.