Children of the Sun
Skype Q&A with Film-maker Prasanna Vithanage
IMFF 2020 Screening:
April 4th 2020
Screening: 3.30pm - 5.45pm
AFS Cinema, Austin
Member Tickets: $10
Non-Member Tickets: $12
Sri Lanka | Drama | 2019 |102 min| Sinhalese; English subtitles
This film will be preceded by a short: Bouma
Stripped from nobility and forcibly married to an outcast by the monarchy, a noble woman fights to keep her dignity by rejecting to succumb to her destiny.
In 1814, the Kandyan Kingdom of Sri Lanka, the native Sinhala Buddhist nobility who do not approve the rule of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe (of South Indian Tamil dissent) rebel against him with the aid of the British military, who have already occupied the coastal areas of the Western part of the island. When the rebellion fails, the conspiring noblemen go into exile in British occupied areas. Their wives are then given 2 options : to commit suicide or be married off to the Rodiya, an outcast group.
Only one of the noble-wives, Tikri, chooses not to jump and is taken to the Rodiya settlement. Once there, she is banished along with her new husband, Vijaya, for refusing to engage in any of the rituals. The rest of this breathtaking films follows Tikri and Vijaya as they try to carve out a respectable livelihood for themselves even amidst the changing landscape of Sri Lanka during the British occupation.
This film relates to me in both political and personal levels. In this historical epic journey, two people from two different social strata are brought together against their will and struggle to co-exist refusing to lose their identity. When pushed to the limits of survival, in order to survive, they finally come to realize that the life doesn't exist on identity itself.
I thought of using this theme as an allegory to question this illusion, in a world where humans constantly wage wars in the name of national or religious identity.
For me, sharing this story with Sri Lankans is important, because our nation went through three decades of a brutal civil war waged in name of racial and religious identities. Since the struggle to uphold identities has not stopped in post war Sri Lanka, I believe it is important to raise the question, "Is identity more important than the sanctity of life?"
On a personal level, this story is about a man trying to win over a woman by taming her. But during the journey, they are challenged by the circumstance beyond their control and forced to come to accept that the most important things in life are love and self-respect. I believe the same struggle for superiority still exists in a relationship of a man and woman even at present in post-modern society. I think it is worthwhile to make a film to counter that.
Prasanna Vithanage became involved in theater on leaving school. He translated and directed Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man in 1986, and Dario Fo's Trumpets and Raspberries in 1991.
In 1992, he directed his first film Sisila Gini Gani (Ice of Fire). It won nine OCIC (Sri Lanka) Awards including Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. Four years later in 1996 was his second feature Anantha Rathriya (Dark Night of the Soul), which he wrote and directed. It was based on Leo Tolstoy's last novel Resurrection. It participated in several international film festivals and won a Jury's Special Mention in the First Pusan International Film Festival. The film also won all the main awards at the 1996 Sri Lanka Film Critics Forum Awards (affiliated with FIPRESCI) including awards for Most Outstanding Film, Best Director and Best Screenwriter.
Pawuru Walalu (Walls Within), his third feature in 1997 won the Best Actress Award for Nita Fernando in her role as Violet, at the 1998 Singapore International Film Festival. It even won ten out of eleven awards including Best Picture and Best Director at the Sri Lanka Film Critics Forum Awards.
STILLS SLIDE DECK
JAR Pictures / Alan McAlex & Ajay Rai
Alan McAlex and Ajay G. Rai came together to form Jar Pictures. They are two dynamic film production professionals with a wide body of experience ranging from independent cinema, to non-mainstream art house films to commercially successful Bollywood hits between them. They have created a versatile production company steadily gaining a stronghold in the Indian film industry, producing critical gems like Geethu Mohandas' LIAR'S DICE (2014), which was India's submission to the 2014 Academy Awards and screened at Sundance. KILLA (2014), winner of the Crystal Bear for Best Film in Generation Kplus at the Berlinale 2014 and NIL BATTEY SANNATA (2015), internationally released as THE NEW CLASSMATE, which won several acclaims in India and abroad. The company's most recent film ONCE AGAIN (2018) by Kanwal Sethi was a co-production between Germany, Austria, and India.
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The expertise of the team includes internationally renowned multiple award winning directors and Sri Lanka's most sought after producer / line producer combination, together with best in class creative and strategic thinkers and managers. This highly experienced team has worked with distinguished film directors and film crews from around the world.
With Sri Lanka's most sought after industry experts, Film Island offers turn-key end to end professional production solutions to those who consider Sri Lanka as their preferred filming destination.
Vijaya: Sajitha Anuththara
Tikiri: Dinara Punchihewa
Ehelepola Adigar: Ravindra Randeniya
Bulathgama Disawe: Shyam Fernando
Bulathgama Disawe's Mother: Iranganie Serasinghe
Bulathgama Disawe's Sister: Damayanthi Fonseka
John Doyly: Mohamed Adamaly
Village Youth: Kalana Gunasekara
Ukkuwa: Ananda Kumara Unnahe
Ukkuwa's Mother: Nethali Nanayakkara
Writer / Director:
Sandya Salgado Alan McAlex Ajay Rai H.D. Premasiri Prasanna Vithanage
Director of Photography: Rajeev Ravi
A. Sreekar Prasad
Janaka Ullandupitiya Akuramboda Piyathissa Buddhi Sanjaya Edirisinghe
Ranjan Prasanna Trilan Shastri