Chopped Down…Cambodia bans documentary I am Chut Wutty about the death of an environmental activist

Posted: 20 April, 2016 in world
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Read more Asia Pacific Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Poster I Am Chut Wutty 2015 Fran Lambrick and Vanessa De Sme I am Chut Wutty is a 2015 UK / Cambodia animation biography by Fran Lambrick and Vanessa de Smet.
Starring Helen Mirren, John Lynch and Donal McCann. IMDb

In one of the last remaining wildernesses in South East Asia, Cambodian community activists are struggling to defend their forest home. Their leader, Chut Wutty, defies threats and intimidation to investigate the corrupt logging syndicates. At an illegal, military controlled site in the Cardamom Mountains Wutty is stopped and shot dead. Featuring exclusive footage with Wutty in the months leading up to his death, I am Chut Wutty asks why did he die, and can his network fight for the forest without him?

Cambodia’s Ministry of Censorship Culture has banned a screening of a documentary film about murdered environmentalist Chut Wutty and threatened strong action against the venue if films continue to be shown without first being cleared by the government.

Set to be screened on April 20 at Phnom Penh’s Meta House Cafe, Fran Lambrick’s I Am Chut Wutty chronicles the fight against deforestation in Cambodia through the life of Wutty, who in 2012 was shot and killed while documenting logging activities in Koh Kong province.

A letter sent from the Ministry to Meta House yesterday states:

The film has not been subject to a content check and was made without permission for shooting from the ministry and competent authorities.

By email yesterday, Lambrick confirmed she had not submitted the film to the department but would do so now. However, she disputed the claim that she was legally obliged to.

This is just an excuse from the Department of Cinema and Cultural Diffusion, but it is not constitutional. Cambodia still has freedom of expression and association, at least according to the law.

Meta House founder Nico Mesterharm could not be reached for comment.

Chhay Bora, president of the Motion Picture Association of Cambodia noted that often films have been shot and screened without permission and the blocking of I Am Chut Wutty may be because this is a sensitive topic .

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