Angelina Jolie’s fourth directorial effort, First They Killed My Father, has the unique distinction of being Cambodia’s entry into the Academy’s Foreign Language Film competition this year, giving Jolie — who holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Cambodia — an unusual position in this year’s race.
Jolie and her co-writer Loung Ung visited last month’s 7th annual Deadline’s The Contenders all-day awards-season event at the DGA Theater to talk about their film (as part of Netflix’s presentation) to a packed house of AMPAS and key guild voters. Jolie discusses how they met after she returned to Cambodia, where she had made a major studio film once, and the connection they had.
Loung Ung wrote the book about her experiences as a child during the Khmer Rouge genocide and is the key figure in the film, as we see the war through a child’s eyes. Jolie talks about how it was important to bring this story to the world as it is generally not taught in schools. She also discusses the importance of making it in Cambodia, in the native language, and with Cambodians sharing key roles behind and in front of the cameras.
Check out our conversation above.