See ‘Surviving Bokator’ during special screening at Khmer Arts Academy

Two years ago, the pre-release of “Surviving Bokator,” a documentary film about how aging genocide survivor and Grandmaster, San Kim Sean tried to resurrect an ancient fighting style that was almost lost during the Khmer Rouge occupation, impressed audiences during the Cambodia Town Film Festival.

Now, the completed documentary will be shown, Saturday, at the Khmer Arts Academy in Long Beach as the seven-year film project continues to gain recognition from viewers.

Produced by Sandra Leuba and directed by Mark Bochsler, the film follows Sean and his students, including action star Tharoth “Little Frog” Sam, on their journey to reclaim their cultural identity through the martial art, capturing the youth and optimism Bochsler said he recognized while shooting for five years in Cambodia.

“Through their struggle, the film gets to the very heart of the generational fracture happening in Cambodian communities around the world today, between genocide survivors determined to revive and maintain old ways and Cambodia’s youth who want to make them new,” according to the press material.

A Bokator demonstration, pronounced “bok-ah-tau”, will be performed as part of the screening event on Saturday, while Sam will also be in attendance to answer questions from the audience.

Put on by United Cambodian Community and Khmer Arts Academy, the screening is also a fundraiser to help its creators continue promoting the film. Those who donate $50 will receive a krama (a traditional garment), a photo and an autograph from Sam.

“Surviving Bokator” screens on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Khmer Arts Academy; 1364 Obispo Ave. Space is limited, to RSVP visit the event page here. Learn more about the film here.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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