Who Killed Chea Vichea? (2011, USA – Thailand)

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Director: Bradley Cox | 57 minutes | Thailand, USA | 2010 | Language:French, Khmer with English subtitles |


This investigative documentary, produced on a shoestring budget, covers the 2004 assassination of a Cambodian trade union leader and exposes corruption in one of the world’s top exporters of low-cost clothing.

“Chea Vichea was Cambodia’s most respected and influential labour leader. Despite beatings and death threats, he fought alongside the workers, winning better wages and conditions from the country’s billion-dollar garment industry and becoming a hero to millions. One sunny morning, Vichea stopped to read the daily paper at a newsstand. A motorcycle pulled up and the passenger stepped off, walked over to Vichea and calmly gunned him down. The police arrested and convicted two men. What seems at first to be justice done starts to look like a frame-up as questions get asked. Who Killed Chea Vichea? is the result of filmmaker Bradley Cox’s five-year marathon effort to expose corruption and a
frame-up that has shook Cambodia’s façade of democracy. The resulting implications reach far beyond the police station and the courtroom. Cox reveals the forces behind a murder that sent an unmistakable message of fear and the frame-up that sent two innocent men to jail. Since the film was completed, the Cambodian government has sent riot police to break up screenings, vowing to prevent them “wherever they are held” and threatening to seize any copies it finds. The film takes us deep into the heart of darkness, to the source of the terror that maintains one of the world’s most corrupt regimes. (DocEdge 2012)

” Chea Vichea served as president of Cambodia’s garment workers’ union until he was gunned down on the street in 2004. Filmed over five years, Who Killed Chea Vichea? explores the possible motives for this popular leader’s assassination and unravels a police plot that framed two men, who were sentenced to 20 years for a crime committed by others.” (ITVS)

Chea Vichea’s declaration on YouTube


Director Bradley Cox. Producers Jeffrey Saunders, Rich Garella.

Producers: Loud Mouth Films, Limited, Independent Television Service (ITVS)

Partners: KBDI Denver and other NETA stations

This film premiered on May 1, 2011 on Public Television

Bradley Cox, director

Bradley Cox lived in Cambodia for almost five years. He captured the story of Chea Vichea’s murder as it unfolded on the streets and in the courtrooms of Cambodia. He previously made the documentary Cambodia: Anatomy of an Election and was a co-founder of Bhutan’s first film school. Before moving to Asia, he worked as a screenwriter and director in Los Angeles and his fiction and non-fiction movies have won numerous film festival awards. He currently lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand.

Jeffrey Saunders, producer

Jeffrey Saunders is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and founder of CinemaCapital, an independent production and distribution company based in New York City. His films have been selected at international festivals including the Berlin Film Festival, IDFA, SWSX, and Thessaloniki, and acquired by broadcasters including Sundance, ARTE, TF1, ZDF, and SBS. His feature film Goal Dreams was selected as one of the top 10 Movies that Matter by Amnesty International in 2006.

Richard Garella, producer

Rich Garella lived in Cambodia for most of 1995 through 2003. He was managing editor of The Cambodia Daily, and later worked as press secretary for Cambodia’s main opposition party. He co-wrote and produced Polygraph for MoveOn.org’s “Bush in 30 Seconds” project in 2004; the ad was broadcast nationally. With Eric Pape, he wrote A Tragedy of No Importance, about the 1997 grenade attack against the Cambodian opposition.



• Grand Prize Directorial Discovery, Rhode Island Intl’ Film Festival [2011]
• Top Ten Movies That Matter , Amnesty Int’l Film Festival [2011]
• Best Political Film Award, Philadelphia Independent Film Festival [2011]
• Best Cinematography Award, United Nations Association Film Festival [2011]
• Best Documentary (Second Place) Award, Show Me Social Justice International Film Festival [2011]
• Special Jury Prize – Reportage, International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) [2011]
• George Foster Peabody Award, Peabody Awards [2012]


official website

Film page on ITVS

video trailer


. Documentary Edge 2012 include 10 films about or from Asia

. 5 docs about Asia among the 2012 Peabody winners


. Who Was Chea Vichea and Why Does He Matter? Ask Filmmaker Bradley Cox


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