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'Return to Seoul' chosen as Cambodian entry for Oscar

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'Return to Seoul' has been chosen by Cambodia’s Oscar selection committee as the Kingdom’s nominee for the 95th Academy Awards. PHOTO SUPPLIED

'Return to Seoul' chosen as Cambodian entry for Oscar

The film Return to Seoul by French-Cambodian filmmaker Chou Davy has been chosen by Cambodia’s Oscar selection committee as the Kingdom’s entry for the 95th Academy Awards. The Oscars awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2023.

Return to Seoul tells the story of a French-Korean woman named Freddie who was adopted by a French family at an early age, but during her first return visit to Korea she decides to look into her parentage. Trouble ensues because – despite being of Korean descent – she knows very little about Korean culture.

The film is based on a real-life story of a close friend of Davy, but the director also uses his personal experiences as a Cambodian who was born in France then returned to Cambodia more than a decade ago.

The film Return to Seoul was co-produced by France’s Aurora Films, Cambodian producers Anti-Archive, Germany’s Vandertastic Films, Belgium’s Frakas Pictures and Korea’s MereCinema Productions.

After its official premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 22 in the Un Certain Regard section, Return to Seoul was then screened at major film festivals around the world including in Toronto, New York and Busan.

Recently, the film won the Popularity Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival in New York and the top prize at the Athens International Film Festival in Greece. It has also been nominated for two Asia-Pacific Film Awards: Best Film and Best Director. The winners will be announced in November.

In Cambodia, audiences will be able to watch Return to Seoul in theaters nationwide on November 18, which will also mark the first theatrical release in the world for the film. In North America, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the exclusive rights for the film and plans to distribute it in the US in the near

“It is a great honor for me that the Cambodian Oscar selection committee has chosen this film. It really means a lot to me to be able to represent Cambodia with this film,” said Davy, who wrote, directed and help produce it. “I hope that more Cambodian films will continue to be successful on the international stage.”

The head of the local company that helped produce the film, Anti-Archive Productions Neang Kavich, expressed pride over the good news.

“We are very proud that Davy and his new film have been recognized by the Oscars selection committee. This is the second Anti-Archive film to be submitted to the Oscars as the Cambodian nominated film after White House was nominated last year,” he said.

After submitting the film to the Oscars, Return to Seoul will be considered for selection as a nominee for the Oscars’ Best International Film award, along with dozens of other films from around the world. Five films will be chosen by as the nominees for the category and then voted on by members of the academy to win the actual award. The ceremony will be held on March 12, 2023.

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