One of the most fascinating things about people working in the media and creative industry in Cambodia is where they acquired their skills and how they got into this field of work. Art is not a subject taught in public schooling and most young Cambodians have never held a paintbrush in their lives.
There are currently no TV production or animation schools in Cambodia, and naturally I was curious as to how Veasna came onboard at ithinkasia.
Veasna - “When I was in 3rd grade I wanted to be a lawyer, but I was introduced to this world at the age of 16 when I started volunteering at a local NGO as a reporter. I was given jobs as a journalist and junior editor and we produced a short documentary that was shown on local television.”
Over the following years Veasna’s personal interest in media grew as he worked with various NGO’s (Non Governmental Agencies). He learned foundational skills from both international industry professionals and through his own self paced learning via the internet and you tube.
Veasna and Justin first met on the set of a local reality TV show back in 2012 where Veasna was working as an editor and Justin saw his potential. When ithinkasia secured the animation for internationally distributed children’s series ‘Joe and Jack’ Veasna was brought on board as fulltime staff.
Veasna is one of ithinkasia’s senior operators with experience in Producing, 2D animation, Editing, Grading, Motion Graphics and VFX. He has worked on feature films, international and local TV commercials, television programs and animation. Veasna worked exclusively with one of our Perth based agencies for more than a year based from Phnom Penh. He’s pretty amazing!
In 5 years time Veasna sees ithinkasia growing, with lots of projects and staff with himself in a management role. He certainly has a lot to offer our trainees and his leadership and skill set is very valuable to our company.
His favorite thing about ithinkasia are the people. “Of all the places I’ve worked in so far this has been my favourite. It is incredibly valuable to be in a creative environment to be able to bounce ideas off other like-minded individuals.”
I’d like to introduce the newest member of our ithinkasia team, Corinne Tan! Corinne is a great addition to our team, she hails from New Zealand and will definitely be instrumental in the development of our trainee program, I love her ideas and the work that she has already started with our team of Cambodian creatives. I’ve asked Corinne to share a bit about what brought her to Cambodia and specifically to work with us at ithinkasia. Welcome aboard Corinne!
Justin Stewart - Managing Director ithinkasia.
Hello! Corinne here. I studied a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design at Unitec in NZ, majoring in Photography, but have always dabbled in Graphic Design and know a thing or two about social media from my own experimenting. I came to Cambodia initially with a heart for sex trafficking but the reality hit that I was neither a social worker, nor have I experienced the horrors of injustice. I also didn’t speak any Khmer language so there was little I could do to make a meaningful difference.
As I learnt about what other creatives were doing in Cambodia and realised it made so much more sense to be working in a field I was trained in, up skilling talented Cambodians with professional skills I had that are not taught in Cambodia. I learned about ithinkasia the first month I was here, learning about who was doing what on the ground, and it was the one company whose model that I 100% agreed with and really excited me. What ithinkasia does goes beyond simply making a difference by grasping the full potential of local creative talent, and giving passionate individuals the chance to learn animation with the goal of employment.
In my second year here in the Kingdom, I’m excited to be in this role working on our social media so others may learn more about what we do, as I believe its definitely something worth talking about. I also get to work with our trainees, developing a curriculum that suits the business needs while championing their talents, fine tuning their skills, watching them go from not knowing how to use a computer to becoming top international level animators and media professionals. Working cross culturally has its challenges but I’m starting to grasp the full potential of how visual communication surpasses cultural barriers and languages, allowing us visual communicators to efficiently address issues that can be difficult to put into words.
One of the privileges of doing what we do is that we get the chance to be involved in helping to create change. At ithinkasia we love nothing better than raising awareness about important social issues in our home country of Cambodia.
We were recently commissioned to work with The Asia Foundation to develop 4 30 second animations to be used in a mobile application. This app is to be used to raise awareness, inform and educate woman and to provide solutions to end violence against women in Cambodia.
The animation revolves around the central character Dany. The character is based on a real life Khmer activist. Dany is passionate about ending violence against women in her country and changing the mindset surrounding this issue.
In partnership with The Asia Foundation, Golden Gekko and ithinkasia, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development-funded VXW Award gives activists exclusive access to world class quality design, facilitation, and developer support to build, use and scale mobile technology solutions to end violence against women in Cambodia.
Dany was chosen for her commitment to finding new solutions to ending violence against women, being a creative problem solver capable of engineering her vision in reality, and having entrepreneurial qualities to see opportunities for change and innovation.
Dany is very committed to helping Cambodian women feel empowered to stand up for their rights to live free from violence in the home. She challenges cultural and traditional norms that put women in the inferior position to men.
The objective of the app is to generate greater understanding and awareness of domestic violence for primary prevention efforts. Through animation and quiz features it seeks not only to help change the discriminatory attitudes, norms and practices that perpetuate violence in the home, but also to increase knowledge among women and girls of their legal rights.
Here are some statistics on the violence against women and domestic violence in Cambodia by A multi-country 2013 UN study.
25% of Cambodian women surveyed have experienced physical or sexual violence.
1 in 3 partnered men surveyed say they have committed physical and or sexual violence against a woman in their lifetime, making it one of the highest rates in the region.
54% of partnered men reported using at least one act of emotional abuse against a partner in their lifetime and 53% reported perpetration of economic abuse.
50% of women felt that violence by a husband towards his wife can be warranted if a wife behaves in an argumentative, disrespectful or disobedient way.
To learn more about Dany and the VXW Award click HERE.
Director Johnathon Peavoy – “I am terrible at any kind of design and secretly hope people will just think of it as “charming”
"Good Lord, you can't even have a tree on your property anymore.'
The Neighbours is a two minute short film, directed by Johnathon Peavoy. It tells the story of an elderly frog trying to find out who Scott Carrier is and why this tom cat is sitting oh so very high up in his tree, and how in the lord's name will he get him down.
This would have to be one of my all time favorite projects! We were so fortunate to co-produce this animated short with Galway based A Man & Ink studios, good friends and cohorts from the Joe & Jack days. If we could do this type of work every day then work really wouldn’t be work would it:)
The Film is based on the recordings of the real life Scott Carrier, a radio producer and Professor of Communications from Utah University. The original recording of the piece, which is part of a larger set of recordings, first featured on The Story with Dick Gordon as part of their Neighbourhoods – All Sides Now segment, broadcast on Friday July 15 2011. While stuck up a tree, Scott is confronted by a confused and irate neighbour.
Directed by: John Peavoy Produced by: Jeremy Purcell / Justin Stewart Audio courtesy of Scott Carrier
Check out the blog feed from A Man & Ink if you would like to read more about the process behind this short animation.
Last year we had the privilege of working with The Asia Foundation to produce two animated television commercials from concept through to completion. These commercials were produced in partnership with The Asia Foundation and Phnom Penh City Hall to promote cleanliness in the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The first TVC focused on garbage collection schedules and the correct method for disposing of household garbage within the city. The second TVC was aimed at showing the correct method for disposing of plastic bags and to encourage the use of environmentally friendly bag alternatives.
It’s not uncommon in Cambodia to see locals starting fires for cooking using plastic bottles and bags. Garbage also floods the streets during the wet season and is an obvious concern in relation to the spread of disease. We were more than happy to help raise the awareness of correct methods of garbage disposal that can have a significant impact on a city’s cleanliness and the overall health of its population.
This was a great opportunity for our Cambodian animators to showcase their animation skills and story telling. We were very fortunate to have Dreamworks Animator, Patrick Pujalte in Cambodia at the time to work with my team as the Director for these television spots. Patrick is a very experienced animator having worked on several animated features for Dreamworks. His experience and guidance were really invaluable to our team who soaked up every word of his advice!
The process for each TVC involved detailed storyboarding and artwork development. I was particularly proud of the way the team were able to capture realistically the city I call home. Being able to insert some local knowledge into this story also helped us drive home the point. Locals here know that it’s not a good idea to ride your moto in the rain, why? Because you can easily get sick from the garbage on the streets and in the flooded roadways. We added that scene in to emphasize that point, along with the very common sight of a toddler playing in the flooded streets, great fun but not the best way to stay healthy!
We were very happy with the result of both TVC’s and hope to do more with a similar theme to improve and impact on socially important issues relevant to the growth and development of this great city!