Holocaust Museum Houston Presents Free Screening of Award-Winning Cambodian Genocide Documentary

HOUSTON, TX (Oct. 12, 2011) – Holocaust Museum Houston will present a free screening of the film "Enemies of the People," an award-winning documentary on the 1970s genocide in Cambodia, this November as part of the Museum’s First Thursdays program.


Thet Sambath (right) with Nuon-Chea aka Brother-Number-Two. Courtesy of 'Enemies of the People'

The screening, held in collaboration with the award-winning documentary series POV (www.pbs.org/pov), will be shown Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. in the Museum’s Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater, in the Morgan Family Center at 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District. Admission is free, but seating is limited, and advance registration is required. Visit www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx to RSVP online.

The Khmer Rouge, the ruling party in Cambodia during the 1970s, slaughtered nearly 2 million people as part of a purge of the party to rid it of a "Vietnamese faction," people they believed were conspiring with their erstwhile allies to re-establish Vietnam’s traditional dominance of Cambodia." Yet the “Killing Fields” of Cambodia remain largely unexplained. Enter Thet Sambath, an unassuming investigative journalist who lost his family in the conflict and spent a decade gaining the trust of the men and women who perpetrated the massacres. From the foot soldiers who slit throats to Pol Pot's right-hand man, the notorious Brother Number Two, Sambath and co-director Rob Lemkin record shocking testimony in their groundbreaking film, “Enemies of the People.”

In the film, Sambath is on a personal quest to discover not how but why his family died. In doing so, he hears and understands for the first time the real story of his country's tragedy.

“Some may say no good can come from talking to killers and dwelling on past horror, but I say these people have sacrificed a lot to tell the truth,” he said. “In daring to confess they have done good, perhaps the only good thing left. They and all the killers like them must be part of the process of reconciliation if my country is to move forward.”

Winning more than 20 awards at film festivals across the world, including the World Jury Special Prize at Sundance in 2010, the documentary depicts a nation struggling to come to terms with its past mistakes.

Sambath is a senior reporter with the Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia’s premier English-language newspaper. He is widely regarded as one of Cambodia’s best investigative reporters and his stories have been syndicated all over the world. He has worked for the American Refugee Committee as a paramedic on the Thai-Cambodia border; as police interpreter for the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia; and as a human rights investigator for LICADHO. He was most recently named the winner of the 2011 Knight International Journalism Award.

Lemkin is the founder and director of Old Street Films. He has produced and directed more than 50 documentaries for BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky, The History Channel and Arts & Entertainment. He has won numerous awards in Britain and abroad, and his work has appeared in major documentary strands for C4, BBC and ITV. He has made several films about the history and politics of Asia including “The Real Dr. Evil” in 2003, “Malaya: The Undeclared War” in 1998 and “Who Really Killed Aung San?” in 1997, among others.

“My own personal connection to Cambodia is non-existent, but my connection to genocide is not,” Lemkin said. “Many members of my father’s family died at the hands of the Nazis, and a rather remote relative of mine, Raphael Lemkin, even coined the term ‘genocide.’”

Holocaust Museum Houston will be open extended hours on the First Thursday of every month. The Museum will remain open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for Members at the Sponsor level and above. The program will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m., however.

“Enemies of the People” is a production of Old Street Films and Thet Sambath in association with American Documentary, Inc. and POV.

American Documentary, Inc. is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc develops collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and now in its 24th season on PBS, the award-winning POV is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. Airing June through September with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 300 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide and has a Webby Award-winning online series, POV’s “Borders.” Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues.

The film is presented with special thanks to United Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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