Friday, August 12, 2011

Cambodian Filmmaker's Two Films

The map says it is over 8200 miles from Cambodia to the United
States. But for filmmaker Daron Ker, bridging the gap between the two
cultures is at the root of his passion for storytelling and the
driving force behind his burgeoning career.

Born in the “Killing Fields” era of tyranny and violence, one of his
earliest childhood memories is seeing Stanley Kubrick’s epic
“Spartacus” projected onto a sheet in an internment camp. Soon after,
Ker and his family emigrated to the United States, where Daron began
to slowly realize that his destiny was to tell great stories on screen.

Since attending film school in San Francisco, Ker has made two
impressive feature films that illustrate culture clash in unexpected,
poignant, and surprising places. “Rice Field of Dreams” follows
Cambodian refugee Joe Cook, who escaped the Khmer Rouge and eventually
became a chef in an Alabama restaurant, as Cook returns to Cambodia to
form the nation’s first competitive international baseball team. “I
Ride” focuses on biker culture, and remains stateside as Ker’s camera
focuses on the Fryed Brothers Band, the best rock band you’ve never
heard of. Ker follows along as the brothers travel the roads of
America, playing concerts for motorcycle clubs, recalling old stories,
and creating new legends along the way. Filmed with sensitivity and
an outsider’s keen eye for detail, both films mark Ker as a young
filmmaker to watch, and both films will be released by FilmBuff/
Cinetic Media this fall.

While continuing to promote his two very different films, Daron Ker
is also preparing for his first narrative feature, “Holiday in
Cambodia,” which will be shot by veteran cinematographer Hiro Narita,
and tells the story of a young Cambodian living in America who is
deported back to his homeland, with unexpected results.

Ker is committed to representing the Cambodian culture on film, and
one day to help open a film school in his native country. But he also
considers himself a storyteller with universal appeal. “I gravitate
towards stories that speak to more than one audience,” Ker says, “and
that’s what I think makes my films unique.” Having travelled over
8200 miles and back again to find his own style, Ker is poised to tell
powerful stories that otherwise might remain untold.