Sophoan Sorn is a Cambodia-born, American film festival director and programmer of international films.
At 27, he is one of the youngest festival directors in the world of European cinema today.
Since 2010, he has been director of San Francisco's Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, a presentation of the Goethe-Institut. Berlin & Beyond is America's largest focused festival of new German-language films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and has been held annually at the world-famous Castro Theatre since 1996. His leadership culminated in two successful festivals that attracted national and international sponsors, and was visited by filmgoers from across California and film professionals from Europe. The upcoming 17th edition of Berlin & Beyond will take place September 28 through October 4, 2012 with him at the helm.
He was born in 1985, miraculously two weeks after his mother’s water broke, in a refugee camp on the border of Cambodia. In 1991, he emigrated to the United States of America with his family, and settled in Stockton, California. He began studying classical piano at age 11, and videography at 16. An honor graduate of Lodi Seventh-day Adventist Academy Class of 2003, he has studied Film at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Fresh out of high school from 2003 while based in Stockton, he became proactive in the Central Valley's art scene. In 2008, he founded the San Joaquin International Film Festival (SJIFF) and the San Joaquin Film Society. His international industry connections, collaborative spirit and innovative leadership introduced over 300 films from over 40+ countries to the region. Other successful programs included the San Joaquin Children's Film Festival in 2009, and nine years of collaboration with the acclaimed University of the Pacific. SJIFF had just celebrated a successful 5th Anniversary run in Stockton from January 12th-15th. For April 21st and 22nd, 2012 he has organized the 2nd San Joaquin Children's Film Festival, with a spotlight on French animation.
Through his work in film, he has been highlighted locally and internationally in Twitch, KQED Arts, NPR Capital Public Radio, Cinesource, The Bay Citizen, San Francisco Bay Times, Sacramento and Company, ABC News10, San Joaquin Magazine, Stockton's The Record, Focus Features Film Week, KWIN 97.7, MUBI, Germany's international Deutsche Welle - and in unique literature as Carl Wilson's best-selling music book "Let's Talk About Love: Journey to the End of Taste."
His hobbies include traveling, writing, fashion, running, gardening, performing the piano, and spending time with family and friends. Annually, he attends the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival in Germany. He currently lives in San Francisco.
The journey continues...
Sophoan attending the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in Germany, February 2012.
Sophoan speaking at the Opening of the 16th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival at the legendary Castro Theatre in San Francisco, October 2011.