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I Am Chut Wutty: Cambodia bans documentary about murdered rainforest activist, everyone watches it online instead

The environmentalist was shot dead by military police in 2012

Jacob Stolworthy
Thursday 21 April 2016 15:10 BST

The Cambodian government has banned a British documentary telling the story of a rainforest activist who was murdered by a military police officer in 2012.

Titled I Am Chut Wutty, the film follows the final months of the titular environmentalist who was shot dead at a police checkpoint while aiding two journalists in their witnessing og deforestation in the Cardamom mountain forests. It was due to be shown this week in an anniversary screening marking four years since his death.

However, the Cambodian Department of Cinema and Cultural Diffusion has disallowed the film from being shown on the grounds that British co-director Fran Lambrick was not permitted to make the film.

Lambrick, who met Wutty while researching in Cambodia in 2011, had begun shooting the documentary before his murder.

“Chut Wutty was a prominent activist and director of the Natural Resources Protection Group," Lambrick said. "His life work was to defend the rights of forest communities and speak out against the rampant deforestation that is destroying Cambodia’s natural heritage. We want to keep his words and his battle alive.”

Despite the ban, the documentary has amassed views of over 100,000 with many venues across Cambodia holding secret screenings. An English version is due to be released next week.

Chak Sopheak, director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said: “This ban provides yet another example of Cambodia’s pervasive culture of impunity and the lengths that the government will go to preserve it.”

You can watch I Am Chut Wutty for £1 on distributor Journeyman Pictures' website as well as iTunes and Google Play.

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