Tampuan girl produces Indigenous documentary film-making for young generation

Ms. Nhoch Seeyean is a Tampuan Indigenous woman from Loan village, within the Northeastern province of Ratanakiri. Dedicated to preserving her culture she joined the Bophana Center in 2021.


Seeyean is an Indigenous Tampuan from Loan village, Ratanakiri (Source: Seeyean provided)


Bophana Center has grown a project to “Building Capacity for Indigenous Youth and Establishing Indigenous Audiovisual Archives Through Wiki-tools in Cambodia”,.” Their films document the scope of indigenous languages, cultures, and traditional stories. Their efforts were recently shown at the prestigious Phnom Penh Film Festival in 2022. Ms. Seeyean successfully became one of the 11 indigenous youths chosen to be trained in the subject of documentary filmmaking by the center.

A student currently studying Law at the Royal University of Law and Economics based in Phnom Penh.
She explains that documentary films are typically produced by an author/creator in order to create facts and history. “It is a fantastic medium that can help others to gain a deeper understanding of culture, history, and the importance of education.”

The goal of the program is to have each student direct and produce their own documentary film. Ms. Seeyean successfully created two “Chanang soup and Oldest Daughter.”



A film called “Sanoung”produced by Seeyean


Ms. Seeyean states,“I would like to promote the indigenous traditional Chanang soup called in Tampuan “Sanoung” which we have inherited so that the younger generation will continue to make it and it will not be lost in the future. I want to make the public aware of this soup as well,” she states.

She did face some difficulties during her trip to the community because the weather was hot and often wet. In addition, the location of the video shoot was quite far from the urban city; this led to greater difficulty when dealing with technical issues along with a greater inability to be flexible in the local community.

Ms. Seeyean and her team during her field trip in rural community (Source: Seeyean)


She acknowledges her dream of producing and filming documentaries does not come without challenges. She utilized many different approaches when dealing with the challenges during the production of the two documentaries

She is very passionate about producing films to collect and preserve indigenous, culture, and traditions for the next generations. Ms. Seeyean hopes to see her community preserve its identity, which is why she states she chose to join the program. After the program, she gain more experience and skills from learning and practice; she know the technical of using camera, materials, improve script writing. “After that training, I obtained a lot knowledge of producing filming, not only create filming, I also develop my communication with team, editor, and community as well”, she expressed.



Seeyean and team practice a shooting video (Source: provided)


Ms. Seeyean has one statement she would like to share with the younger generation, “seize opportunities when they arise and never give up on your dreams.”

The project’s goal is to create an open-access Indigenous audiovisual archive using Wikimedia tools and platforms in order to preserve, protect, and revitalize indigenous languages in Cambodia under the project “Building Capacity for Indigenous Youth and Establishing Indigenous Audiovisual Archives Through Wiki-tools in Cambodia”” from July 2021 until June 2022 under the organizational grant of Wikimedia Foundation.

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