Angelina Jolie Pitt has been announced as director of a film adaptation of First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, the memoir of a Cambodian author and human rights activist, Loung Ung.
Not only will Jolie Pitt be directing, she is also serving as co-writer with Loung Ung and producer on the Netflix original movie project, which will be made available to the streaming site’s subscribers in the fall of 2016.
Published in the year 2000, Ung’s book recounts how the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia in 1975 and began a four-year reign of terror and genocide in which nearly two million Cambodians died. The book also tells how the author was forced out of her home when she was five years old and was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans while her six siblings were sent to labor camps.
Jolie Pitt is said to have been moved after reading the book sometime in 2001 and thereafter got in contact with Ung, and they have been friends ever since.
“I was deeply affected by Loung’s book,” Jolie Pitt commented. “It deeped 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. It is a dream to be able to adapt this book for the screen, and I’m honored to work alongside Loung and filmmaker Rithy Panh.”
On her part, Ung said, “Angelina and I met in 2001 in Cambodia, and immediately, I trusted Angelina’s heart. Through the years, we have become close friends, and my admiration for Angelina as a woman, a mother, a filmmaker, and a humanitarian has only grown. It is with great honor that I entrust my family’s story to Angelina to adapt into a film.”
First They Killed My Father is set to begin production later this year in Cambodia.