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Live from the Kennedy Center

5/24/2021

Dr. LinDa Saphan’s triumphant documentary screened opening weekend at the REACH

Associate Professor LinDa Saphan holds many titles: exceptional faculty member in the Mount’s Department of Sociology, renowned Cambodian artist, social anthropologist, art exhibition curator, and even a documentary film director, producer, and researcher.

When she’s not educating future sociologists and urban anthropologists at the College, Dr. Saphan’s work is being showcased at landmark festivals in New York, Italy, and other global locations—and that has recently expanded.

On May 27, her documentary film, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll, was screened outdoors by The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., kicking off the re-opening weekend of the Millennium Stage Summer at the REACH.

REACH—D.C.’s newest cultural landmark—has become one of the nation’s most interactive and inspiring arts and culture destinations, where everyone truly belongs. In partnership with SAMASAMA, inspired by the literal Tagalog meaning “all together,” Dr. Saphan’s screening joined a celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander narratives and heritage through art and community.

The film captures the twists and turns of Cambodian music as it morphs into rock and roll, and features the lives of Cambodian musicians, intertwined with political history, before and during the Khmer Rouge regime, from the 1950s to the mid-1970s.

The documentary also explains the impact of music in the struggle for political, ideological, and social change and it  was among 124 contenders considered for the 2016 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, earned a nomination for the ABC News VideoSource Award at the 2015 International Documentary Association, and was awarded the Vijay Mohan Social Change Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival 2015.

Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten is the product of eight years of work by filmmaker—and Dr. Saphan’s husband—John Pirozzi. He worked part-time on the low-budget, independent documentary, along with Dr. Saphan, who is credited as associate producer and head researcher. The film has been shown in more than 40 states, as well as various countries including France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark. It has also been featured at several international film festivals, including the London Film Festival and Rotterdam International Film Festival.

“We never expected to go this far,” Dr. Saphan said in 2015. “When we made the film, it was about telling an interesting story…And the fact that The New York Times covered [the film], is beyond expectation—it’s the cherry on top of the cake.”

This isn’t Dr. Saphan’s only work in the film industry. In 2016, she made her directorial debut with her documentary Nate from Lowell, MA, which was screened at the Cambodian Town Film Festival in Long Beach, Calif. and at the Roma Cinema DOC in Rome, Italy.

Nate from Lowell, MA highlights the reality that no institutions preserve, archive, and research lost and hidden popular music in Cambodia, which is not recognized as part of the country’s cultural heritage and it was screened at the New York International Immigration Film Festival in 2018.

As a visual artist, Dr. Saphan’s work has been included in several collective exhibitions in Southeast Asia, France, and the United States. Her research endeavors include identity and culture in Southeast Asia, ethnography, and ethnicity and gender issues among Khmer-Americans.

An experienced academic, Dr. Saphan shares and educates colleagues and students with her skills in qualitative research methods, arts and filmmaking, and social media. She finds excitement in studying the rituals and practices of daily life and the invisible actors who surround us, while seeking strategic solutions to empower vulnerable communities by giving them a platform of true public space and a voice in the civic sphere.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.