Project Abstract

RoungKon Project was found in 2016 by a group of architects and architecture students. It is a multi-disciplinary project that aims to promote and document all the 60s cinemas in Cambodia. The documentation will focus on all forms such as architecture drawings, interviews (with filmmakers, research scholars and ordinary people), Photo, filming, written documents and maps.  The project will highlight the aspect of urban form of the cities through cinemas on how it reflects the ideology of Sangkum Reastr Niyum era’s city planning based on cultural engagement. All the materials will be free to access online for researchers, students, artists, architects and urban planners for education purpose.

Today, we see so many cinemas are in risk. Most of them are being completely demolished, even the cinemas are considered as part of the powerful cultural cultivation and development during the past. They are encountering the lost of the history trace and human heritage. We are sad about their lost while there are many people feel the same as us. It was not only the way of people entertain during that period, but they seem to be part of the memories of the people, urbanization and all the lesson learn of Cambodian and other related countries. Unfortunately, it’s time of the modernity, the city and varieties of entertainments which concerning in living lifestyle have been changed through time, so all the old Cinemas during that time will be risking to disappear for the upcoming future. That is the reasons to make us working in rush to research and document, for learning the past, preserving for the present as much as possible, and maintain for the future.

Works Description

RoungKon Project is working on the heritage cinemas remaining in Cambodia, documenting the history and translating memories into audio and visual, which enable people getting to know more history of the cinema, its architectural designs during 1960s. Our works will focus on 4 main objectives:

  1. Introduction of the cinemas, and the primary documents of cinema which includes started working on the cinemas mapping and introducing the trace of cinemas in Phnom Penh: using Google map to point out the location of the cinemas and show the evolution of the cinema as much as possible, also the memorize of the local residents.
  1. Documents Research, find out the old documents includes: old photos about the cinema buildings, movie posters, history of cinemas, and the way of cinemas practices by people, from available institutions such as: National Archives of Cambodia, US National Archives, National Library and other libraries.
  1. Cinemas Architecture and Memories Surveying. We visited Kampong Cham and Battambang province where there are few rest cinemas, which allowed our team to document and survey the architectural building design of those cinemas before they have gone. Furthermore, we met and conducted the interview with some people who have experienced in the film industry and the cinema.
  1. Interviews: meet with the people who are interested in the film and cinema, as well as the elderly people who experienced in film industry. Specially, star movies, filmmakers, poster painters, also cinéphiles who are available and willing for the research. Furthermore, the young generations who we can find out about their idea and thinking of the reasons behind the losing and modernist influence.

Outcome and Benefit:

In the beginning, we discovered 33 cinemas in Phnom Penh. And we have created a website for posting our works, it is not the finishing works but it is the processing works on what we have found and to raise awareness to others. Also it will ease fellow researcher and others who are interested in the cinema, especially, the next generation students or architecture students to learn much more, and pay attention about the cinema design and the history related in Cambodia. The outcomes will be included:

  • Selected interviews will be made in summery information videos which will translated and subtitled in English. And we will transformed them into texts with Khmer and English. All of them will be placed online in a dynamic and user-friendly website that can function as a basis for future research.
  • The architecture plan drawings will be open for free access. So that it will provide help and ease the researchers and the studying of the cinemas design, as well as the modern movement during the past.
  • A guided-walking maps presents the location of the cinemas in block of the old quarter in Phnom Penh (Phsar Chas and Phsar Kandal), will be produced and published in online.
  • Continue interviewing with the people who are involved in the sectors to learn more and understand the way of cinemas shaping the urban.
  • Extending producing the short videos into short film to make understanding of the cinema and the way to catch up the attention to conserve the heritage cinema building to fulfill and serve to the public visionaries.
  • Document for student next generation, researchers, to make them get more and deeply understandable in the culture setting in Cambodia through the way of cinema development in Urban. After finishing the project, we get to know more about the knowledge of the cinema development in Cambodia in order to preserve and work on the same of the project in the future and get the document of researching, Cinemas Mapping, the architectural plan design of the cinemas, short films about the thinking of the cinema evolutions and the way it changes in the comparison of the present to the past decades of war and social crisis.

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