Behind the scenes on Cambodia’s first million-dollar action movie

Following the popular success of Jailbreak, the first Cambodian film to be picked up by Netflix, director Jimmy Henderson has upped the ante with the country’s first million-dollar movie, The Prey. Photographer Luke Montgomery was on set deep in the jungle to document its making.

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Luke Montgomery

The story of a convicted man who is forced to go on the run from twisted trophy hunters, The Prey was filmed deep in the unforgiving Cambodian jungle, in the mostly undeveloped south-west coastal region of Koh Kong

The story of a convicted man who is forced to go on the run from twisted trophy hunters, The Prey was filmed deep in the unforgiving Cambodian jungle, in the mostly undeveloped south-west coastal region of Koh Kong
Credit: Luke Montgomery

Amid the searing heat and continuous monsoon downpours, the rugged landscape was transformed into a scene of bloodsport and pyrotechnics. The Prey is the first film in Cambodia to use pyrotechnic special effects

Amid the searing heat and continuous monsoon downpours, the rugged landscape was transformed into a scene of bloodsport and pyrotechnics. The Prey is the first film in Cambodia to use pyrotechnic special effects
Credit: Luke Montgomery

The Prey (2018)

Credit: Luke Montgomery

The operation is led by Italian expat Jimmy Henderson, who has flourished in a country whose improvised approach to filmmaking has given him the freedom to ‘make what he really wants to make’. Here he directs Thai star Vithaya Pansringarm, who starred in Only God Forgives (2013) alongside Ryan Gosling

The operation is led by Italian expat Jimmy Henderson, who has flourished in a country whose improvised approach to filmmaking has given him the freedom to ‘make what he really wants to make’. Here he directs Thai star Vithaya Pansringarm, who starred in Only God Forgives (2013) alongside Ryan Gosling
Credit: Luke Montgomery

Rous Mony, a local Cambodian actor who got his big break while working as a lighting technician on the Australian film Wish You Were Here (2012) when he was scouted to also star in it. Here he pauses to reflect on the many insects that join the crew on set each day

Rous Mony, a local Cambodian actor who got his big break while working as a lighting technician on the Australian film Wish You Were Here (2012) when he was scouted to also star in it. Here he pauses to reflect on the many insects that join the crew on set each day
Credit: Luke Montgomery

Bora Benny, the head of the lighting department, checks the sky for the next cloud cover to ensure shooting continuity

Bora Benny, the head of the lighting department, checks the sky for the next cloud cover to ensure shooting continuity
Credit: Luke Montgomery

The crew inspect the wreckage of a hut being blown up in the middle of the jungle

The crew inspect the wreckage of a hut being blown up in the middle of the jungle
Credit: Luke Montgomery

Camera assistants Mayka Prom and Maty Prom

Camera assistants Mayka Prom and Maty Prom
Credit: Luke Montgomery

Cambodian actor Hun Sophy, who plays the guard leader

Cambodian actor Hun Sophy, who plays the guard leader
Credit: Luke Montgomery

Armed with an Alexa camera up a rusty crane, the LA-based director of photography Lucas Gath embraces Cambodia’s more relaxed attitude to health and safety

Armed with an Alexa camera up a rusty crane, the LA-based director of photography Lucas Gath embraces Cambodia’s more relaxed attitude to health and safety
Credit: Luke Montgomery

The Prey’s leading man, Gu Shang Wei, is a five-time national boxing champion turned charismatic Chinese action star

The Prey’s leading man, Gu Shang Wei, is a five-time national boxing champion turned charismatic Chinese action star
Credit: Luke Montgomery

The art department is led by Samnang Pak, who was one of 100,000 Cambodian refugees who were resettled in the US after fleeing the Khmer Rouge and the guerrilla wars that gripped the country until 1991. After joining gangs in south central LA, he was incarcerated and deported back to Cambodia, a country he hadn’t been in since he was an infant

The art department is led by Samnang Pak, who was one of 100,000 Cambodian refugees who were resettled in the US after fleeing the Khmer Rouge and the guerrilla wars that gripped the country until 1991. After joining gangs in south central LA, he was incarcerated and deported back to Cambodia, a country he hadn’t been in since he was an infant
Credit: Luke Montgomery

Kahn was Samnang’s second in command on set and grew up with him in south central LA, also being deported back to Cambodia only two months before we started shooting

Kahn was Samnang’s second in command on set and grew up with him in south central LA, also being deported back to Cambodia only two months before we started shooting
Credit: Luke Montgomery

The Prey (2018)

Credit: Luke Montgomery

Nophand Boonyai (top) and Sahajak Boonthanakit (bottom) are two talented Thai actors who were brought in to broaden the cross-Asian appeal of the film and help directly target foreign markets

Nophand Boonyai (top) and Sahajak Boonthanakit (bottom) are two talented Thai actors who were brought in to broaden the cross-Asian appeal of the film and help directly target foreign markets

Costume assistant Borramey Yoath grew up near Cambodia’s ancient temple complex Angkor Wat. After impressing with her language skills on the set of Angelina Jolie’s 2017 Khmer Rouge film First They Killed My Father, she climbed up the ranks from a menial job washing costumes to working as one of the main costume assistants

Costume assistant Borramey Yoath grew up near Cambodia’s ancient temple complex Angkor Wat. After impressing with her language skills on the set of Angelina Jolie’s 2017 Khmer Rouge film First They Killed My Father, she climbed up the ranks from a menial job washing costumes to working as one of the main costume assistants
Credit: Luke Montgomery

Actor Rous Mony takes a break in between scenes

Actor Rous Mony takes a break in between scenes
Credit: Luke Montgomery

Jailbreak and The Prey have both helped the resurgence of the ancient Cambodian martial art of Bokator. Originally crafted by master fighters in the age of the Angkor empire around the 9th century, the traditional practice was banned under the Khmer Rouge and many of its figureheads executed, leaving it on the brink of cultural extinction

Jailbreak and The Prey have both helped the resurgence of the ancient Cambodian martial art of Bokator. Originally crafted by master fighters in the age of the Angkor empire around the 9th century, the traditional practice was banned under the Khmer Rouge and many of its figureheads executed, leaving it on the brink of cultural extinction
Credit: Luke Montgomery

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