“Satook,” directed by award-winning Cambodian American rapper and film maker praCh Ly, examines the transformation of religious traditions in Cambodian American communities through the ruptures of war and immigration. The film centers on four intimate conversations with survivors and the diaspora of the Khmer Rouge genocide, who share their personal experiences and memories of their parents, and reflect on their communities and journeys of belief. The film also examines the contemporary meanings of ancient sacred sites in Cambodia and considers more broadly the diversity and complexities of religion in four different locations in the United States. Satook was featured as part of the exhibition “Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain”, at the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art from April 30–September 18, 2022.
praCh Ly (Long Beach, CA) is a critically acclaimed and award-winning artist. First known as a musician, his debut album was the first number one rap album in Cambodia. Through masterful lyrics, his music not only entertains but also educates. His involvement in film has ranged from scoring and creating original music to producing and directing projects, including Enemies of the People and In the Life of Music. He is also the co-founder and co-director of the Cambodia Town Film Festival in Long Beach, California.
Loung Ung (Cleveland, OH) is a Cambodian-born American human rights activist and lecturer. She is the national spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine-Free World. Her first novel, First They Killed My Father, was turned into a feature film by Netflix that was directed by Angelina Jolie.
Bonieta Lach (Lowell, MA) was born in the United States to refugee parents who escaped the Killing Fields of Cambodia in the 1970s. Her parents opened Pailin Asian Supermarket in Lowell, Massachusetts, which attracted Cambodian immigrants to Lowell—now home to the second-largest Cambodian population in the country. Pailin market remains a cornerstone of the Cambodian American community.
Reaksmey “Mea” Lath (Long Beach, CA) is a celebrated Cambodian classical dancer, instructor, and manager of the Khmer Arts Academy in Long Beach. Born in a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand, Mea uses the sacred art of Cambodian dance to connect with her history, to heal and inspire, and to present Cambodian culture to the world.
Pon “Carvi” Ly (Jacksonville, FL) survived the Killing Fields of Cambodia as a child. Since arriving in the United States, he has helped establish one of the largest Cambodian temples in Florida. His father, Seng Ly, coordinated the building and installation of a monumental buddha statue near Wat Ek in Battambang, Cambodia.
“Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain” is part of The Arts of Devotion, a five-year initiative dedicated to furthering civic discourse and the understanding of religion made possible by the Lilly Endowment Inc.