First They Killed My Father

Original Release: February 18, 2017 (Cambodia) and September 15, 2017 (Worldwide)
Directed by: Angelina Jolie
Written by: Loung Ung, Angelina Jolie
Produced by: Angelina Jolie, Rithy Panh, Ted Sarandos, Michael Vieira, Maddox Jolie-Pitt
Running Time: 136 minutes

Loung Ung is 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge assumes power over Cambodia in 1975. They soon begin a four-year reign of terror and genocide in which nearly 2 million Cambodians die. Forced from her family's home in Phnom Penh, Ung is trained as a child soldier while her six siblings are sent to labor camps.


Cast & Characters

Sareum Srey Moch (Loung Ung), Phoeung Kompheak (Pa Ung), Sveng Socheata (Ma Ung), Mun Kimhak (Kim), Heng Dara (Meng), Khoun Sothea (Khouy), Sarun Nika (Geak), Run Malyna (Chaou), Oun Srey Neang (Keav), Mony Ros (Ros Mony), Tharoth Sam (Khmer Rouge Leader)


Photo Gallery
Trivia
Filming Dates: 2016
Filming Locations:
  • Battambang, Cambodia
  • Based upon Angelina Jolie's friend, the author Loung Ung's self biography and the deadly rule of the Khmer Rouge, a communist inspired movement led by the dictator Pol Pot, under which an estimated 25% of the Cambodian population died from malnutrition, forced labour and mass murder from 1975 until 1979. This historical event is today known as the Cambodian genocide.
  • Full title of the film is "First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers".
  • Shot completely in Cambodia with an all-Cambodian cast and in the Cambodian language Khmer.
  • Producer Rithy Panh is himself a survivor of the Cambodian genocide. His acclaimed documentaries Cambodia, entre guerre et paix (1991), Bophana: A Cambodian Tragedy (1996), The Land of the Wandering Souls (2000), S21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine (2003), Duch, Master of the Forges of Hell (2011) and The Missing Picture (2013) are about the victims, the perpetrators and his own experiences.
  • Official submission of Cambodia for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 90th Academy Awards in 2018.
  • The scene where Khmer rouge soldier got captured and surrounded by the people is indeed the real Khmer rouge soldier at the time.
    More than 500 Cambodian craftspeople and technicians were employed during the production. They comprised the largest portion of the crew. Additionally, more than 3500 Cambodian background actors and extras were recruited for specific scenes. Many Cambodian crew members, actors and extras were survivors or children of survivors of the genocide.
  • Almost all Cambodian artists, actors and film professionals were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime and only a few of the directors were able to flee the country. The history of the birth and destruction of Cambodian cinema is covered in the documentary Golden Slumbers (2011) from the first Cambodian film made in 1960 to the arrival of the Khmer Rouge in 1975. In these 15 years, about 400 films were produced, but only 30 films survived. With a few of the survivors telling their stories, the documentary tries to bring back to life the myths and legends of this lost cinema. Most of the old movie theaters of Phnom Penh have now become restaurants, karaoke places or squats.
  • Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni, Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk and senior government officials attended the premiere at the centuries-old Angkor Wat temple complex on 18th Feb. 2017.
  • Maddox Jolie-Pitt, born in Cambodia August 5th, 2001, was one of the Executive Producers of the movie.

Quotes from Cast & Crew

"But it was very hard to find a little Loung. And so it was what they call a slum school. I don't think that's a very nice word for it, but a school for kids in very poor areas. And I think, I mean they didn't know. We just went in and - you just go in and do some auditions with the kids. And it's not really an audition with children. We had this game where it would be - and I wasn't there and they didn't know what they were really doing. They kind of said, 'Oh, a camera's coming up and we want to play a game with you.' And the game for that character was 'We're going to put some money on the table. Think of something that you need that money for.' Sometimes it was money, sometimes it was a cookie. [laughter] 'And then take it.' And then we would catch them. 'We're going to catch you, and we'd like you to try to lie that you didn't have it.' So it was very interesting seeing the kids and how they would - some were very conscious of the camera. They were actually - there are so many talented kids in this country. But Srey Moch was the only child that stared at that money for a very, very long time before she picked it up, and then bravely, brazenly lying, like was trying to hide, but then (...) when she was forced to give it back became very kind of like strong, emotional, she became overwhelmed with emotion that she was - and she just - all of these different things flooded out. And I don't think she or her family would mind me saying when she was later asked what that money was for, she said her grandfather died and they didn't have enough money for a nice funeral."
- Angelina Jolie, on the casting process in Vanity Fair, 2017

"Netflix said 'yes', and good on [chief content officer for Netflix] Ted Sarandos. They could have said, 'Yes, but here are your restrictions: You have to do it in English, you have to ask someone who's known from China to play her mother, you have to cut these things to make it a smaller number.'"
- Angelina Jolie

"I wanted to do something where the hero was Cambodian. And I wanted it to be mine. And shot in Cambodia."
- Angelina Jolie, on the differences between First They Killed My Father (2017) and The Killing Fields (1984)


Awards & Nominations

Golden Globes - Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language
BAFTA Awards - Best Film Not in the English Language
Alliance of Women Film Journalists - Best Non-English-Language Film
Alliance of Women Film Journalists - Best Woman Director - Angelina Jolie
Alliance of Women Film Journalists - Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Film Industry - Angelina Jolie
Boston Online Film Critics Association - Best Foreign Language Film
Critics Choice Award - Best Foreign Language Film
Camerimage - Bronze Frog - Main Competition - Anthony Dod Mantle
Camerimage - Golden Frog - Main Competition - Anthony Dod Mantle
Central Ohio Film Critics Association - Best Foreign Language Film
Cinema for Peace Awards - Most Valuable Movie of the Year
CinEuphoria Awards - Top Ten of the Year - International Competition - Angelina Jolie
DFWFCA Award - Best Foreign Language Film
Denver Film Critics Society - Best Foreign Language Film
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards - Best Foreign Language Film
Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association - Foreign Language Film of the Year
Gold Derby Awards - Foreign Language Film
Hollywood Film Awards - Foreign Language Film of the Year
Houston Film Critics Society Awards - Best Foreign Language Film
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards - Best Foreign Film
Motion Picture Sound Editors - Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing
National Board of Review - Freedom of Expression Award
North Carolina Film Critics Association - Best Foreign Language Film
North Texas Film Critics Association - Best Foreign Language Film
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards - Best Foreign Language Film
Online Film & Television Association - Best Foreign Language Film
Palm Springs International Film Festival - Best Foreign Language Film
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards - Best Foreign Language Film
Satellite Awards - Best Motion Picture, International Film
Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards - Best Foreign Language Film
St. Louis Film Critics Association - Best Foreign Language Film
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards - Best Foreign Language Film
Women Film Critics Circle Awards - Best Foreign Film by or About Women
Women Film Critics Circle Awards - Courage in Filmmaking Award - Angelina Jolie