Enemies of the People

A personal journey into the heart of the Killing Fields

Produced by Rob Lemkin

‘The scheme provided us with critical funding at a critical juncture that enabled another trip to Cambodia. That was the trip that made the film what it is. So thank you, WorldView!’

The Khmer Rouge ran what is regarded as one of the 20th century’s most brutal regimes. Yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain largely unexplained, until now.

In Enemies of the People, the men and women who perpetrated the massacres – from the footsoldiers who slit throats to the party’s ideological leader, Nuon Chea, aka Brother Number Two – break a 30-year silence to give testimony never before heard or seen.

Unprecedented access from the top to the bottom of the Khmer Rouge has been achieved through a decade of work by one of Cambodia’s best investigative journalists, Thet Sambath.

Sambath is on a personal quest – he lost his own family in the Killing Fields. The film is his journey to discover not how, but why they died. In doing so, he hears and understands for the first time the real story of his country’s tragedy.

After years of visits and trust-building, Sambath finally persuades Brother Number Two to admit (again, for the first time) in detail how he and Pol Pot (the two supreme powers in the Khmer Rouge state) decided to kill party members whom they considered “enemies of the people”.

“First time” comes up so often because Sambath’s work represents a watershed both in Cambodian historiography and in the country’s quest for closure on one of the world’s darkest episodes.

The UN and the Cambodian government set up a tribunal to try the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge for international crimes. Brother Number Two’s trial started in 2011 and is ongoing.


May be one of the most important films about Cambodia ever made Wall Street Journal

Stunning… Amazing… One of the most gripping and moving films I’ve ever seen Andrew Marr, BBC Radio 4

Inspiring. A testament to one man’s persistent search for the truth  Stephen Holden, New York Times

Poignant and harrowing Financial Times

Heart-wrenching and shocking Screen Daily

Exquisite… well crafted and beautifully shot The Huffington Post

Chilling Variety

Thought-provoking Eye For Film

Quietly devastating Toronto Star


Winner World Jury Special Prize Sundance 2010
Winner True Life Award True/False 2010
Winner Best Documentary Santa Barbara 2010
Winner Social Justice Award, Santa Barbara 2010
Winner Best Documentary, Vera, Finland 2010
Winner Grand Jury Prize, One World 2010
Winner Anne Dellinger Grand Jury Award Full Frame 2010
Winner Charles E Guggenheim Emerging Artist Full Frame 2010
Winner Outstanding Documentary Award Hong Kong 2010
Winner Best Documentary Award Beldocs 2010
Winner Best Documentary Award OxDocs 2010
Winner Best Documentary Award Norwegian Doc Festival
Winner Nestor Almendros Award Human Rights Watch 2010
Winner Silver Horn Award Krakow 2010
Winner “In the Spirit of Freedom” Ostrovsky Award Jerusalem, 2010
Winner Human Rights Award Dokufest, Kosovo 2010
Winner Grand Prix Batumi, Georgia 2010
Winner Best Documentary Ojai 2010
Winner Best British Documentary BIFA 2010
Winner  Top Ten Audience Award IDFA Amsterdam, 2009
Winner TV3 Human Rights Award Docs Barcelona 2011
Winner Best International Feature DocEdge NZ 2011
Winner Best Directing DocEdge NZ 2011
Nominated Best Feature Documentary IDFA 2010
Honourable Mention Doxa, Vancouver, 2010
Nominated Best Cinema Documentary Grierson Awards 2010
Nominated Best Screenplay Writers Guild of America
Shortlisted Best Documentary Feature Academy Awards 2011