Lakhon Bassac integrating with contemporary art to raise awareness about election

“Same things are considered as the enemy of the audiences”, said Sek Savuth a spot producer and a Lakhon Bassac lecturer at the Secondary School of Fine Arts. “Audiences just want to see new products without caring how hard we [the producers] try in order to find something original and make it interesting for them.”

Sek Savuth's students are rehearsing for the new election spot. / Photo by: UNG MengYeanTo make things different and to grab more attention from viewers, Savuth has to create election spots on TV that have never been done before.

“For this year election we choose Lakhon Bassac, one of the most popular folk theatre in Cambodia, as our main tool,” he said, adding that the spot will be the combination of classical and modern musical instruments.

Unlike some spots that have shown everyday on TV, Lakhon Bassac spot is aimed to raise awareness of the people who are at the right age to be participated in the national election and alert them that it is their role to vote for their country. Moreover, the purpose of this spot is also to give the message to people about violence during the election.

Talking about the integration of old with contemporary art, the producer told that it does not affect the original Lakhon Bassac because he takes only the songs, instruments and some parts ​​but not the performance of the drama itself. In contrast, he believes that it would gain even more attention from viewers.

Savuth said, “The National Election Committee (NEC) of Cambodia always asks me to produce the election spots because I work there and I have experiences producing a lot of spot related to the election.” Producing spots is just a part of his job. He teaches at the Secondary School of Fine Arts and works at the National Election Committee. He continued by saying that after the Election campaign is over, he would come back to teach at school.

Sek Savuth's students are rehearsing for the new election spot. / Photo by: UNG MengYeanSince 1998 he has produced countless spots, most of which are related to the election. Has been working for more than 10 years, the producer has used many diversity of arts to product the spot. During last year national election, he has used Chapei, a Cambodian two-stringed, long-necked guitar, as the main tool in his spot.

Up to now, Savuth has produced around six spots. He plans to produce around 8 to 12 spots for the national election in 2013. All spots will be publicized and broadcasted on all TV channels in Cambodia at the end of April 2012.

 “It was not so difficult to do this work since I have enough talented people and enough equipment in addition to my experience,” said Savuth. He spends around one week training his students and one day shooting. Including some other relevant tasks, he generally spends around two months for a spot.

Although having a lot of experience, he still has some challenges in this work. He claims that good spots consume a lot of money; however, his projects do not get many financial supports. Along with this, finding new concept for shooting is also another obstacle for him.

Savuth has to see what spots have been done by other people so far then he has to make sure that his new spots will not contain any repetitions of other spots.

He optimistically told, “I believe to get 80 percents of success from my hard working since my previous productions also got a lot of attention.”

Article by: KIM Kotara & UNG MengYean
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Photo by: UNG MengYean

About Writers:

KotaraKIM Kotara is a sophomore of Media Management at the Department of Media and Communication (DMC). She said if she was asked to choose whether to write or speak about her mind, she would choose to write because she could express her ideas more clearly in writing. She started working for the CambodiaCircles in November 2011. "By starting writing from today on, I hope that I can sharphen my writing skills and inform, educate, and entertain my readers through my articles," said Kim Kotara.

MengYean's photoUNG MengYean is now a sophomore of Media Management at the Department of Media and Communication (DMC). She has experiences working as a freelance reporter for the local magazine, and she has joined the as a reporter since early 2012. “I choose to study in journalism because I like exploring, writing, and networking,” said MengYean, adding that she hopes her writing could function as a window of information for general people around the world.