Winner of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary, A River Changes Course explores the damage rapid development has wrought in her native Cambodia on both a human and environmental level. Rural communities, used to reaping the bounty of their mountainous jungles and lush rivers, have witnessed their forests being cleared, land becoming scarce and costly, and fishing stocks rapidly depleting. No longer able to provide for their families, and often accruing massive debt as a result, many Cambodians have been forced to leave their rural lives behind to seek employment in the industrial factories of Phnom Penh. Director Kalyanee Mam stops by to ruminate on her award winning film and love of her native country’s disappearing culture.
A River Changes Course puts a human face to these global changes. River follows three Cambodian families — one living in a floating hut on the Tonlé Sap River, one dwelling deep in the jungle, and one whose eldest daughter moves to Phnom Penh to work in a garment factory — as their world is transformed by forces far beyond than their power to control, or even understand. Sage Magazine