Cambodia Film Fixer Chronicles: Introduction and the Emigrants

Cambodia Film Fixer Chronicles: Introduction and the Emigrants

This is the first in a series of blogs featuring Cambodian Productions very own production coordinator, Richard Currie, and his experience of being a fixer in Cambodia. Richard has worked for several Cambodian based production companies on a freelance basis, and his CV features programmes such as Naked and Afraid, River Monsters, Expedition Unknown and 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy. As a fixer in Cambodia your life is never predictable, one minute you’re drinking a cup of tea in the office and answering emails the next minute you’re speeding off to Mondulkiri on a location recce for a new television show. Being a fixer can be challenging, stressful, exasperating and difficult. But at the end of the day its fun and that’s why we do it.

The Emigrants

It was December 29th 2015, just a few days shy of the New Year, and Cambodian Productions was winding down for the day. We had completed a few big jobs this year and, with a few productions in the pipeline, we were getting ready for another successful year in 2016. Outlook made the usual ping to signify the arrival of a new email and that started our involvement on this new production. Getting a new email from a production company is always an exciting moment for a fixer and you have to establish the four W’s very quickly (who, what, where and when).

  • Who: A production company called ATM Grupa SA from Poland.
  • What: They want to shoot a television show called “The Emigrants” in Cambodia.
  • Where: Sihanoukville and Koh Rong Sanloem.
  • When: 15th January 2015

As a fixer it’s always best if we can get at least a months’ notice when facilitating a job, this gives us enough time for the permits and logistics with extra time left over to solve any last minute problems. This job was just over 2 weeks away but it was a relatively straight forward production so the time allocated was sufficient. The polish crew were able to secure a MOI Permission (the main paper work required for filming in Cambodia) and the temporary import/export licence through another Cambodian based Production Company before contacting us. Unfortunately the polish crew still required logistical support and the permits for filming in Sihanoukville and Koh Rong Sanloem before their arrival in Cambodia.

First step was organising the logistics. The crew would arrive in Phnom Penh and then have to be transported directly to Sihanoukville for the first part of the shoot. They were only on the ground for 4 days so it was very important that we got them to Sihanoukville as quickly as possible. We have a contract with a vehicle supplier who has very reliable and durable transportation for film productions. Once the minivan was booked it was onto the next stage, location permits for Sihanoukville and Koh Rong Sanloem. Utilising our network of contacts in Sihanoukville we were able to organize location permits and ensure that the locations were available for filming when the crew touched down. During the shoot the crew wanted to film in the main market in Sihanoukville. Although we organized a permit for the area we persuaded the crew to take a local fixer with them to ensure that they were able to navigate through the market without any outside interference. Markets can be chaotic and troublesome areas to film in and if you don’t have a local fixer it can present some problems from the public and stall owners, a fixer can help explain to people what the purpose of filming is and keep everyone happy.

The crew arrived one day later than expected, luckily we were notified before the vehicle and fixer met them at the airport, and we’re happy to report that was the only minor problem with the shoot. This is a fine example of Cambodian Productions doing what we do best and organizing a shoot in Cambodia so you don’t have too.

If you should require advice on the filming guidelines in Cambodia, or if you have a specific enquiry, please contact us by email info@cambodianproductions.com. If you have a more urgent enquiry you can phone us directly on +855 (0)78 572 466.