SURVIVING BOKATOR had its International Premiere at the 25th Austin Film Festival on October 27, 2018.
SURVIVING BOKATOR is a powerful story about reclaiming cultural identity and building bridges between generations. Filmed over five years, it tells the struggle of a Cambodian genocide survivor, who after years in exile in Houston, Texas, returns to his homeland to resurrect the ancient martial art of Bokator, near extinction due to the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. His goal is to revive the art and preserve it as a symbol of pride for the nation’s youth. Through this journey, the film gets to the very core of the generational fracture happening in Cambodian communities around the world today, between genocide survivors determined to revive and maintain traditional ways and Cambodia’s youth looking to forge a new path forward.
“This is the apex of a long journey that started with a visit to a dilapidated martial arts club in Phnom Penh in 2010,” said Bochsler. “There’s been a lot of buzz among many Cambodians in America waiting to see this film. We’re delighted to have our international premiere at the prestigious Austin Film Festival, and so excited to be able to share the documentary with film enthusiasts.”
AFF programmers describe SURVIVING BOKATOR as, “a compelling and nicely crafted film.” Bokator artist and Cambodia’s first female MMA fighter Tharoth Sam, director Mark Bochsler and producer Sandra Leuba will be on hand for a Bokator demonstration and Q&A following the screening. This is Bochsler’s first feature-length documentary. The film was produced by Toronto-based production company Cineboxx Film & Television, in association with Loy Te and Kongchak Pictures, Cambodia.
Our first interview while in Austin was early Saturday morning (October 27th) with Tania Ortega for Good Day Austin.
Many thanks to Tania and the Fox 7 team for this great interview with director Mark Bochsler and one of our stars, Tharoth “Little Frog” Sam.