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Filmmaker Daron Ker-Bridging the Gap Between Cultures

By David Thompson

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The map says it is over 8200 miles from Cambodia to the United States.  But for filmmaker Daron Ker, bridging the gap between the two cultures is at the root of his passion for storytelling and the driving force behind his burgeoning career.

 Born in the “Killing Fields” era of tyranny and violence, one of his earliest childhood memories is seeing Stanley Kubrick’s epic “Spartacus” projected onto a sheet in an internment camp.  Soon after, Ker and his family emigrated to the United States, where Daron began to slowly realize that his destiny was to tell great stories on screen.

 Since attending film school in San Francisco, Ker has made two impressive feature films that illustrate culture clash in unexpected, poignant, and surprising places.  “Rice Field of Dreams” follows Cambodian refugee Joe Cook, who escaped the Khmer Rouge and eventually became a chef in an Alabama restaurant, as Cook returns to Cambodia to form the nation’s first competitive international baseball team.  “I Ride” focuses on biker culture, and remains stateside as Ker’s camera focuses on the Fryed Brothers Band, the best rock band you’ve never heard of.  Ker follows along as the brothers travel the roads of America, playing concerts for motorcycle clubs, recalling old stories, and creating new legends along the way.  Filmed with sensitivity and an outsider’s keen eye for detail, both films mark Ker as a young filmmaker to watch, and both films will be released by FilmBuff/CineticMedia this December.

 While continuing to promote his two very different films, Daron Ker is also preparing for his first narrative feature, “Holiday in Cambodia,” which will be shot by veteran cinematographer Hiro Narita, and tells the story of a young Cambodian living in America who is deported back to his homeland, with unexpected results. 

 Ker is committed to representing the Cambodian culture on film, and one day to help open a film school in his native country.  But he also considers himself a storyteller with universal appeal.  “I gravitate towards stories that speak to more than one audience,” Ker says, “and that’s what I think makes my films unique.”  Having travelled over 8200 miles and back again to find his own style, Ker is poised to tell powerful stories that otherwise might remain untold.

Published on Sep 08, 2011

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