The idea for BONNE NUIT PAPA grew over many years. The initial spark came when a surprise letter for Marina Kem's father, Ottara Kem, arrived in 1999. After three centuries of isolation from his Cambo- dian family a relative had searched him out in Dres- den. Through this new connection to her father's home country, the idea grew to fly to Cambodia with her partner, Oliver Neis, and her father, and to document the trip on video camera.
"At first I only had a vague idea of some day making a film about my father or about Cambodia, no concrete vision," says Marina Kem. "At the start it was just important to collect material, to keep hold of the special moments and to see what would happen."
The pursuit of a connection was to continue over many years. "With hindsight I would say that I was still so deeply involved in the process of transformation or awakening - or maybe of growing up, myself that I couldn't see the story objectively. I saw everything separately: my father's life, the fate of the Cambodians and my own life, which was by this time settled in the film world. I couldn't see the connections clearly enough."
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