Legendary DEVO Rock Band Co-Founder Robert Lewis Advises Music and US Story Elements for 1970’s Cambodian Indie Vietnam War-era Feature Film ‘FREEDOM DEAL‘ Launching Pioneering International Crowd Funding Campaign
Cambodian Vietnam War-era Feature Film ‘FREEDOM DEAL’ Counters Lack of Local Production Financing and Infrastructure With International Online ‘Crowd Funding’ Campaign, the First of its Kind for a Cambodia-Based Feature Film.
May 14, Phnom Penh Cambodia
A group of Khmer and Foreign filmmakers and artists, including a Cambodian Princess, US alt-rock legend Bob Lewis of the band DEVO, an award-winning US writer-director, and Golden Age 1960’s Cambodian filmmaker Yvon Hem all have one thing in common.
They’re working to get Cambodia’s first homegrown crowd funded indie feature, ‘Freedom Deal’ off the ground, in a developing nation where film funding is virtually non-existent and crowd funding – common in the West and other developed filmmaking environments – is virtually unheard of.
Undaunted, a new crowd funding site for the film has just been launched at the popular international crowd funding portal, IndieGogo – and in less than a week, with more than a month to go, is over 25% towards its fundraising goal:
Despite sporadic internet, this is the first time that a global online crowd funding approach to feature film financing has been implemented in Cambodia, for a feature film to be shot in Cambodia (and neighboring Thailand), by a team based primarily in Cambodia itself.
Already, this novel crowd funding effort, one of the first of its kind in the developing world, has received notable press:
‘FREEDOM DEAL’ tells the story of a Cambodian youth and his fellow refugees, who flee the growing conflict on their border as the Vietnam war expands into Cambodia during Nixon’s 1970 ‘Cambodian incursion’. On their way they evade horrific Cambodian ghosts, while rescuing a downed US aircrew and evading brutal Khmer Rouge guerillas.
Many US citizens remember the 1970 shootings of unarmed protesting students at Kent State as a turning point in the US involvement in the Vietnam war, leading to the eventual downfall of President Nixon himself.
But relatively few people in the US, and fewer still in Cambodia, realize that the Kent State protesters were expressing outrage at the Cambodian incursion depicted in ‘Freedom Deal’, a military action which had widely been seen as an expansion of the Vietnam War into the rest of Southeast Asia.
Robert Lewis, one of the original founding members of DEVO, (and a Kent State University Alumnus who experienced those protests) has been advising the production on US Stateside period story elements, as well as the film’s potential mindbending, 1970’s kick ass rock and roll soundtrack – Western and Cambodian Psychedelic Rock and Roll – pending music budget, of course.
The first goal of the ‘FREEDOM DEAL’ team is to raise enough money to produce a short film adapted from a representative section of the feature length screenplay, with the resulting short to gain film festival exposure and thereby attract additional interest and co-production financing to produce the full-length feature itself.
Writer-director Jason Rosette is quick to point out that ”Freedom Deal” (his third feature film as writer-director) is not an ‘Anti-American’ movie, of the likes of some kind of ‘Mai Lai’ massacre.
“To the contrary, states Rosette, ‘Freedom Deal’ is an ‘Anti-War’ movie. It expresses, as a dramatization (with supernatural & horror elements) the well-researched and well-founded points of view of many diplomatic, civilian, and military personnel – US, Vietnamese, and Cambodian – that the war in Indochina had been ill-conceived and was needlessly costing hundreds of thousands of lives by 1970, the date that ‘Freedom Deal’ takes place.
To help promote the movie’s development and production locally and abroad, Cambodian Princess Soma Norodom has been conducting local and regional outreach in order to share this important and untold part of US-Cambodian history, while attract attention to the movie’s cause.
The production has recently concluded a local casting session in Phnom Penh to secure the local talent needed to produce the short film adapted from the feature screenplay. The producers are also now in discussions with several Los Angeles and New York-based agencies to attach name Western actors for the principal roles of several US military characters, who feature prominently in the story (aged 19-26+)
“International co-producers are excited by this completely unique story and the obvious US tie-in, which will help the movie’s performance in North America especially”, states Rosette. “But, since we’re planning to shoot in Cambodia and Thailand, folks abroad are still slightly risk averse until they can actually see we can put something on screen.”
The Cambodian film production environment is still lacking in several key areas, and film production incentives (let alone rebates or grants), typical in Western and other developed nations, are not currently available.
On the other hand, local labor is inexpensive, Cambodian talent is capable, the locations in Cambodia are fresh and authentic, and the cinema industry is developing rapidly as international productions begin to shoot here more and more frequently.
Advanced gear, if needed, can be brought from neighboring Bangkok, a 45 minute flight from Phnom Penh.
“Needless to say, a story about the US military involvement in Cambodia would most appropriately be shot in Cambodia”, notes Rosette, (*who has spent over half a decade living and working in Cambodia as a media producer and consultant and who now speaks Khmer fairly well), though he adds that complex scenes, requiring heavy grip and lighting, pyrotechnics, and major mechanical FX may be shot in neighboring Thailand.
Interested fans and supporters, please contribute to this totally unique supernatural US-Vietnam war-era feature, ‘FREEDOM DEAL’:
THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING CONTRIBUTORS SO FAR!
Thanks to Jim Zetwick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHLu75qAa_0
- Thanks to Sara Caldwell (again)! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9PBZqEvKlc
Thanks to Tim Merrill! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1LvtygtvFo
Thanks to Walter Gorey!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBfMHpWfJ34
Thanks to Sara Caldwell for her first contribution!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6Wld7ZEjPg
And hear and see a SECRETLY intercepted radio transmission from Cambodia that illuminates the absolute dedication of the FREEDOM DEAL team’s efforts to get this project off the ground and flying! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jWDEhwA-64