The long-awaited first trailer for Angelina Jolie‘s First They Killed My Father has arrived.
Based on her friend Loung Ung‘s memoir of the same name, the film, set to premiere on Netflix in September, tells the harrowing true story of Ung’s remarkable escape from the Cambodian genocide orchestrated by the infamous Khmer Rouge regime.
The trailer opens in 1975, when 5-year-old Ung’s idyllic life with her parents and siblings came to an abrupt end as Khmer Rouge soldiers stormed into her native city of Phnom Penh.
Over the next four years, some two million Cambodians – out of a population of seven million – were killed by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime. Both of Ung’s parents, two sisters and 20 other relatives were killed.
First They Killed My Father tells the incredible story of Ung’s survival until 1980, when she and her older brother Meng and his wife, escaped by boat to Thailand. They spent five months in a refugee camp before relocating to the United States in Vermont.
Jolie became enamored with Cambodia while filming her breakout role in 2001’s Tomb Raider there on location. She found the poverty-stricken country still recovering from the genocide inflicted by the Khmer Rouge regime. Curious to learn more about the country, she bought a book on the side of the road for $2. The book was Ung’s First They Killed My Father, and over the years she developed a close friendship with the author.
In 2002, Jolie adopted her oldest son Maddox, 15, from an orphanage in Battambang, cementing her commitment to the country. “It feels like a second home to me,” she said. “The children have close ties to the children here. Many of them are best friends. Maddox is happy to be back in his country.”
Determined only to make the film with Cambodian support and participation, Jolie drafted the country’s most famous filmmaker, Rithy Panh, who had lost family in the killings. She also worked with the Cambodian government, which blessed the project, citing Jolie’s track record of respect for the country’s culture and history.