Netflix has released the compelling first trailer for Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father.
The historical drama is based on the memoir of Loung Ung, who as a young girl survived the Khmer Rouge, a harsh regime responsible for the genocide of millions of Cambodians. Ung wrote the script alongside director Jolie.
The moving trailer shows off the masterful cinematography and style of the period piece. This is a first for a film of this scale shot entirely in Cambodia, using local casting and the country’s native language.
The film faced controversy when a Vanity Fair cover story made claims that the casting process used abusive and cruel techniques during auditions. According to the article, casting directors would place money in front of mostly impoverished Cambodian children and then take it away from them to provoke a reaction.
Jolie has since disputed the claims, saying the tactic was an improvisation based on an actual scene in the film and she is saddened that it is being written about as if it were a real scenario. “The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting,” Jolie said in a statement. “I would be outraged myself if this had happened.”
Amidst the recent headlines, the film’s producer, Cambodian documentary filmmaker Rithy Panh, has hailed the film as being an important step in the right direction.
Panh told Deadline:
This film has also been an opportunity for us to show that, 40 years after the disaster and the destruction of the lifeblood of our country, we have been able to rebuild a vibrant and competitive film industry, which is capable of creating, organizing, designing, and producing a film that carries our story across borders and across the whole world.
First They Killed My Father is slated to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and is out on Netflix Sept. 15. Watch the trailer above.