Flood Projects/ Hanuman Films, 2011-2013

Hanuman Film’s first full co-production, ‘Ruin’ was made in collaboration with Australian production company Flood Projects. Ruin premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2013 where it won the ‘Special Orizzonti Jury Prize’ and has since played at numerous international festivals.

An observational, minimal portrait of posttraumatic intimacy, Ruin is a transcendent story of companionship and love.

Ruin is a mythical love story between two teenagers who have escaped mutually hellish backgrounds in modern day Cambodia. Phirun (meaning rain in Khmer) is 19 years old and working in a dangerous and exploitative construction site in the heart of Phnom Penh. Phirun’s home life is bleak, surrounded by drug addicts and criminals in the infamous apartment block “the building”.

Things deteriorate even further when he’s framed for a robbery at work and then accidentally maims his employer. Desperate and with nowhere to go he escapes into the refuge of a park where Phnom Penh street kids congregate –it’s here that he meets Sovanna (meaning dream in Khmer).

Sovanna is younger that Phirun and while emotionally resilient she is also seemingly on the run. The two strike up an unusual companionship and Phirun decides to accompany Sovanna out of Phnom Penh on a journey across the flooded countryside to find Sovanna’s younger sister who has been sold by her family and is working somewhere near the Angkor Wat ruins. On their journey they encounter a series of Cambodian characters who may or may not be living embodiments of the dreams and nightmares Sovanna has each evening. As the love between Sovanna and Phirun ebbs and flows along their journey, it is only when they reach Angkor Wat that Sovanna’s true history is revealed and the extent of her pain threatens to consume Phirun, Sovanna and everything around her.

Utilizing a documentary drama hybrid approach to the overarching structure of a classic first love road film, the spine of Ruin is loose enough to enable a great deal of invention and expansion. The real lives of the cast will inevitably bleed into the very simple narrative of a young couple returning to their homeland province after a life of hardship in Phnom Penh.

A collective of seasoned practitioners whose work has been selected for Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Sundance, Flood’s team includes an academy award nominee. With Kulikar Sotho at the helm as Executive Producer, and Amiel Courtin-Wilson and Michael Cody as co-directors, the production was filmed in only three weeks after a careful casting selection process and rapid pre-production period. Due to the nature of the film the majority of the shoots were at night in and around Phnom Penh. Other locations included the floating villages of the Tonle Sap Lake, Siem Reap, and Kompong Kdei. Many sensitive locations were used including hostess bars, the ‘building’ , local karaoke bars and beer gardens. However, with Hanuman Films experience in sensitive shoots and senior local police chiefs in Phnom Penh working in partnership with the crew, the shoot went very smoothly. The shoot was very intense and both cast and crew worked day and night for three consecutive weeks, reinforcing the reputation of Hanuman Films as the go-to production company when under pressure with both time and budgets.

Locations: Phnom Penh, Chong Kneas, Siem Reap, Kampot
Talent: Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Michael Cody, Kulikar Sotho, Rous Mony