Angelina Jolie Pitt will direct an adaptation of First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, a harrowing and poignant memoir from Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung about surviving the deadly Khmer Rouge regime.
Jolie Pitt will direct and produce the Netflix Original Film from a script she co-adapted with Ung. Acclaimed Cambodian director and producer Rithy Panh, director of the Oscar-nominated Best Foreign Language film The Missing Picture, will also be a producer.
The film will be made available to members of the world’s leading Internet TV network Netflix in late 2016 and will be submitted to major international festivals.
Loung Ung was five years old when the Khmer Rouge assumed power over Cambodia in 1975 and began a four-year reign of terror and genocide in which nearly two million Cambodians died.
Forced from her family’s home in Phnom Penh, Ung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans while her six siblings were sent to labor camps.
[ Study Reveals Effect of Angelina Jolie’s Double Mastectomy ]
Ung survived and wrote First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, which was first published in 2000. Jolie Pitt read the book and contacted Ung over a decade ago and they became close friends. Together they adapted the book into a screenplay.
“I was deeply affected by Loung’s book,” commented Jolie Pitt. “It deepened forever my understanding of how children experience war and are affected by the emotional memory of it. And it helped me draw closer still to the people of Cambodia, my son’s homeland.”
She added, “It is a dream come true to be able to adapt this book for the screen, and I’m honored to work alongside Loung and filmmaker Rithy Panh.”
[ Angelina Jolie Expresses Sympathy for Japanese Hostage Killed by ISIS ]
Jolie Pitt’s Cambodian-born son, Maddox, will also be involved in the production of the film. First They Killed My Father will begin production later this year in Cambodia.
Jolie Pitt is currently in post-production on By The Sea, an adult drama written and directed by Jolie Pitt, starring Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt, that will be released by Universal this year.
Jolie Pitt recently directed Universal’s Unbroken, based on the life of Olympian and World War II POW survivor Louis Zamperini. Jolie Pitt made her feature directorial debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey.
Photo courtesy: UNHCR