In partnership with Anomaa Rajakaruna of Agenda 14 (Private) Limited we hope to identify, and nurture filmmakers interested in professionalizing their skills. We also hope it will support the creation of safe spaces for thought-provoking content, to promote dialogue and understanding, and connect with each other through creativity within communities. 

Five aspirant and emerging filmmakers were selected from 61 applications from across the country. 

Three short films will be launched during the 2nd Colombo International Women's Film Festival 2020 and two short films will be launched at the International Jaffna Cinema Festival 2020 later this year. 

Producer of the short films

ANOMAA RAJAKARUNA

Anomaa Rajakaruna has travelled extensively in Sri Lanka documenting the lives of community groups, particularly the lives of women and children in these communities and has addressed issues such as women in armed conflict, displacement, sexual harassment and violence against women. She uses photography and documentary film for expression and has won several awards for her work both nationally and internationally. 

Since 2015, in partnership with several international organisations and cultural institutes in Colombo she has produced over 70 short films with young filmmakers in Sri Lanka on co-existence, democracy, youth issues and gender-based violence. 

5 emerging filmmakers and their short films

Original Title: උරුමය | Title in English: Inheritance (will be screened at the 2nd Colombo International Women's Film Festival 2020)

Synopsis 

Siblings gathered for their Mother’s 91st birthday but the prime motive of the gathering relates to their mother’s property. In the meantime, the mother goes down her memory lane reflecting on their childhood innocence. The conversation turns into a bitter quarrel and they are blissfully unaware of what they truly inherit. 

Duration: 20mins

Director: Lanka Bandaranayake 

Original Title: Two Curries (will be screened at the 2nd Colombo International Women's Film Festival 2020)

Synopsis

How patient are we with our parents? Do we project our irritation at them in stressful situations? 

‘Two Curries’ shines a light on a conflicted mother-daughter relationship. 

Chandani, a senior lecturer at a government university in the capital is a doting single mother dealing with a daughter embracing modern values and lifestyle. Mithila, a complete contrast to her conservative mother, has already started working as an assistant TV producer in her early 20’s at a leading network. 

Disguised behind the facade of a simple argument about Mithila’s lunch, the duo takes out their innermost frustrations at each other.

Duration: 8 minutes

Director: Narthanie Serasinghe

Original Title: It’s not a Tall Short Thing (will be screened at the 2nd Colombo International Women's Film Festival 2020)

Synopsis

Sajana who is a six feet tall and fair young girl in a relationship with a comparatively short boy called Sandaru. Both of them are university undergraduates and victims of height discrimination. As per university subculture, Sajana (a first-year student) can’t have romance with a masculine from an upper batch. So that raggers in university make fun of their appearance and love by bullying them physically and verbally. After a series of harassments, Sajana the protagonist rises against raggers.

Duration: 15 minutes 

Director: Shalini Divyanjalee

Original Title: Meena’s Story (will be screened at the International Jaffna Cinema Festival 2020)

Synopsis 

A land in which the story is set has encountered decades of war and various other issues in the past, and even though years have gone by since the end of the war, the people are struggling to recover and find a sense of normalcy. Now, poverty has taken over most aspects of their lives. 

The main character in the story is Meena. We see the events that transpire in her life between the ages of 5 to 15.  The story is narrated in the perspective of a child, namely Meena. Families like Meena's have experienced the worst of the war. The mother works tirelessly to provide sustenance for her family.

Duration: 3-4 minutes (short animation) 

Director: Yoshitha Perera

Original Title: The Covered Woman Speaks (will be screened at the International Jaffna Cinema Festival 2020)

Synopsis in English (latest): 

A documentary film that follows the journeys of three Muslim women in different states of covering - in hijab, abaya and niqab (headcover, body cover, face cover), in an attempt to document their identities, emotions and ambitions in a post-conflict / post-Easter-Sunday Sri Lanka. 

Duration: 15 minutes (approx)

Director: Shifani Reffai

Challenging the issues faced by Women and Girls – Arts for Social Change Projects 

The ambition to reach gender equity and eliminate disadvantage is at the heart of our Women and Girls work recognising that the key issues for Sri Lanka are a very high rate of domestic violence, sexual harassment, social media exploitation, suicide rates, over-protection of girls, and under-employment despite good educational achievements. Whilst addressing some of these issues directly, in the longer term our interventions are aimed at attitudinal change, tackling gender norms and attitudes among women and girls, as well as men and boys, and thus enabling the former to participate fully in society.

Our current and future programmes focus on reducing violence, creating role models, and tackling social media harassment through community-based interventions, as well as raising awareness, increasing aspirations for career opportunities and stimulating attitude change through providing a voice, a choice and agency for female empowerment and change.