It was in the early 90s that the film-maker, Rithy Panh, while producing his first documentaries in Cambodia, realized how critical was the condition of the audiovisual heritage of the country. After decades of wars, coups d'état and genocidal madness, the few archives that had been spared seemed to be waiting for time, tropical heat and dust to complete the work of effacing them. One more decade or two and the audiovisual memory of Cambodia would have been reduced to zero, an objective of the Khmer Rouge period that all Cambodians are now trying to surmount.
The concerns of Rithy Panh echoed those of the film-maker Ieu Pannakar, who was then responsible for the cinematic division within the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia. The two men dreamt about creating a locale for memory and creation where the audiovisual heritage would recover a sense and a renewed dynamism.