During the 60's and early 70's, as the war in Vietnam threatened its borders, a new music scene emerged in Cambodia that took Western rock and roll and stood it on its head - creating a sound like no other.
Cambodian musicians crafted this sound from the various rock music styles sweeping across America and England, adding the unique melodies and hypnotic rhythms of their traditional music. The beautiful singing of the renowned female vocalists became the final touch that made this mix so enticing.
As the peasant Khmer Rouge army closed in on the capital city of Phnom Penh, Cambodian rock and rollers played at rooftop parties while bombs ignited the evening sky.
After taking over the country on April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge began one of the most brutal genocides in history, killing 2 million people - 1/4 of the Cambodian population. Intellectuals, artists and musicians were murdered simply for their status. Only a few miraculously survived to tell their story.
This documentary film, DON’T THINK I’VE FORGOTTEN, provides a new perspective on a country usually associated with war and genocide. By celebrating this powerful music, and the people who created it, Cambodia's musical heyday emerges from the shadows of tragedy into the light of history.
Director/Cinematographer John Pirozzi of Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten
Editor Daniel Littlewood and Director/Cinematographer John Pirozzi (of City of Ghosts, Broken English with Parker Posey, Sleepwalking Through the Mekong, and countless other music documentaries on The Ramones, U2, Yoko Ono etc.) making final cuts on Don't Think I've Forgotten, in their Tribeca studio, a labor of love for the last 7 years about Cambodia's lost rock and roll, with interviews expanding the globe (Paris, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Phnom Penh, Battambang etc.) with Prince Norodom Sirivudh, Prince Sisowath Panara, US Ambassador John Gunther Dean, historian David Chandler, Van Molyvann, Bob Muller etc.
I was deeply honored and emotional to watch the rough cuts - I remember being at half of the interviews conducted, e.g. the one with Prince Panara at my apartment on the riverfront, and to know that Sin Sisamouth was at Wat Champa after the exodus of Phnom Penh during the time we were there, and returned to Phnom Penh (to be killed) with my father!
What a BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT film! This film will do more to commemorate, to pay tribute, to document, to inspire than anything else I know out there right now. Not even the work of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal can leave deep impressions and positive legacy as this deeply inspired, deeply researched, aesthetically-made film which was conceived in 2001 and filmed beginning in 2003 – a labor of love of 9 years. The distributors who have seen the rough cuts enthused with excitement and praise.
John Pirozzi, while on this journey making this film, has become de facto the premier expert on Cambodian music and owns the most extensive and comprehensive collection of materials.
Don't Think I've Forgotten will introduce the world to a Cambodia not known before. I laughed, I cried, I remembered. I will not forget. We will never forget. NEVER.
The film needs approximately another $50,000 to finish and bring it to the international film festivals etc. The individual who can make this happens can claim the open position of Executive Director of this incredible film.
- Theary C. Seng, a DTIF fan (Manhattan, 18 Nov. 2010)
Artist Linda Saphan-Pirozzi, director/cinematographer John Pirozzi and their beautiful Italian-Cambodian-American daughter Sothea (namesake of Ros Sereysothea) in their Greenwich Village neighborhood (NYC, 20 Nov. 2010).
For additional information, please contact:
Tel: (323) 333-5476