The Khmer Rouge forced virtually the entire population of Cambodia into mobile work teams. Michael Hunt said that it was “an experiment in social mobilization unmatched in twentieth-century revolutions.” The Khmer Rouge used an inhumane forced labor regime, starvation, forced resettlement, land collectivization, and state terror to keep the population in line.
Historian Ben Kiernan has compared the Cambodian genocide to the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire and the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany. While each was unique, they shared certain common features. Racism was a major part of the ideology of all three of the genocidal regimes. All three targeted religious minorities and tried to use force of arms to expand into what they believed to be their historical heartlands (the Khmer Empire, Turkestan, and Lebensraum respectively), while all three regimes “idealized their ethnic peasantry as the true ‘national’ class, the ethnic soil from which the new state grew.”
After being initiated in 2012, in 2013, the film collection was presented for the 1st time to a public audience.
In 2012, the second collection “Cambodia 1975-1979” followed -consisting primarily of documentaries – is dealing with the Cambodian genocide 1975-1979. It is a collaboration between Wilfried Agricola de Cologne /artvideoKOELN international, nico Mesterharm/MetaHOUSE – German-Cambodian Cultural Centre Phnom Penh and DMF @ Royal University of Phnom Penh & GIZ Phnom Penh.
The collection includes videos by young Cambodian film makers educated at the filmschool @ MetaHouse Phnom Penh and Depart6ment of Film and Media @ the Royal university. All videos try to re-establish an own induividual and collective identity by reflecting the genocide all Cambodian families are suffering from.
The film collection is a corporate part of the audiovisual art collections @ The New Museum of Networked Art.
in 2017, the film collection was included in the global networking project – The W:OW Project – We Are One World – http://wow.engad.org, and later this year transformed into “the Memorial for the Victims of Genocide”, not only related to the genocide in Cambodia, but any genocide, happening before and after Cambodia.
In 2018, the memorial became corporate part of the media art context – “The 7 Memorials for Humanity” – http://7mfh.a-virtual-memorial.org
The Cambodia Film Collection
Molyka Bin (Cambodia), DCM – Royal University of Cambodia & students of film department, Neang Kavich (Cambodia), Nico Mesterham (Cambodia), Nico Mesterham (Cambodia)/Mark Hammond (USA)
MetaHouse Phnom Penh (Cambodia) & students of film school, Sopheak Sao (Cambodia), Chhuon Sarin (Cambodia)