PODCAST: Cambodia Town Film Festival; praCh Ly and Caylee So

On Episode #15 of “CAN YOU HEAR ME, LONG BEACH?” It was just six years ago that the Cambodia Town Film Festival was a fledgling event struggling to get films to show. Today, it’s one of the cultural highlights of the year in Long Beach and beyond. We spoke with festival co-founders praCh Ly and Caylee So.

praCh Ly has been described as the first Cambodian hip hop star, his album “Dalama” went No. 1 in Cambodia, 20 years ago. He’s not only a founder of the festival but a producer on “In the Life of Music,” the feature-length film that opens the festival and that is Cambodia’s official entry for Academy Award consideration. As if that wasn’t enough, on Saturday, praCh will be performing “Dalama” in its entirety, with help from lots of friends. Prach spoke with Sarah Bennett about the festival and about getting back on stage, perhaps for the last time.

Caylee So. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Besides being a co-founder of the Cambodia Town Film Festival, Cayle is the co-writer, co-director and co-producer of “In the Life of Music.” She has had a circuitous journey to her craft, one that included two stints in Iraq as a member of the U.S. military. She spoike with Steve Lowery about the painful moment she told her parents she was joining the military, as well as what responsibilities Cambodian artists have and don’t have when it comes to producing work about the genocide. She also talks about, perhaps, her most amazing accomplishment, giving birth to, and raising, two children while producing, directing and writing a full-length feature movie. Not surprisingly, Caylee was wearing a Wonder Woman T-shirt while being interviewed.

1:06 PraCh Ly talks about his journey to being a No. 1 Cambodian hip hop artist

31:06 Ly shifting from music to film and starting the Cambodia Town Film Festival

47:24 Caylee So talks about making “In the Life of Music”, and her journey to get there

1:01:37 How So went from the armed forces into filmmaking

1:15:48 So’s experience being directed by her dramatic 2-year-old

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Steve Lowery began his journalism career at the Los Angeles Times, where he planned to spend his entire career. God, as usual, laughed at his plans and he has since written for the short-lived sports publication The National, the L.A. Daily News, the Press-Telegram, New Times LA, the District and the OC Weekly. He is the Arts & Culture Editor for the Post, overseeing the Hi-lo.