Wednesday, 18 January 2004  
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Sudath's maiden film launched in Sweden : 

Sudu, Kalu Saha Alu captures tragedy of war

by Chamitha Kuruppu

Sudath Mahadivulwewa is like the gentle rain - no streaks of lightening, no torrential outbursts and no claps of thunder. Just gather gray clouds and drizzle, filling every crack and crevice, swelling the earth to triumphant life - seeping slowly very slowly to touch your soul.

A scene from Sudath’s film Sudu, Kalu Saha Alu.

Sudath has broken new ground in the small screen and hailed as one of the leading directors in the contemporary Sri Lanka. His innovative and creative work of art will touch one's heart and soul and remain there forever.

The first release of his maiden film Sudu, Kalu Saha Alu (Shades of Ash) was held at the Goteborg Film Festival, Sweden in January. After competing with over 40 applicants from all over the world Sudath's film was selected as one of the two projects, to be funded by the Goteborg Film Festival Film Fund.

In his own words 'Shades of Ash' is a feature film, which attempts to unearth the tragedy of Sri Lankan society, whose colour and beauty has been stripped off after two decades of war and violence.


The story of the film revolves around a community of survivors who return to their border village, which was abandoned by them many months ago - following a ruthless massacre of their kith and kin and the destruction of the infrastructure of their village by a terrorist attack. The film narrates how they adapt to rebuilding their lives and homes, while compromising with the newly emerged socio-economic culture that has been nurtured within the 'business' of war and peace.


According to Sudath he developed the storyline of the film after an extensive research carried out by him with assistance from university academics.

The cast include 14 key role players and nearly 200 extras. A whole village was built on the site of an actual border village in the war zones of the North Central Province - one of the largest sets ever constructed in Sri Lankan film history.

Shades of Ash also boasts to be the first Sri Lankan Dolby Digital film. Having started his career as an advertising copywriter Sudath has worked with a number of internationally known agencies. From advertising he moved into alternate journalism as an art director of a controversial Sinhala weekly newspaper. His experience in advertising and journalism as well as his subsequent attendance at the film appreciation course in the Film Institute of Poona in India enabled him to concentrate on social and national issues in his film work.

In his first television drama series 'Dande Lu Gini' which is considered as a landmark television drama series at that time, Sudath explores the root cause of the ethnic conflict that devastated the country over the last 20 years.

Dhawala Rathriya, Manukakapura and Vanaspathi are among his other notable contributions to the small screen that has created a niche for the industry at large.

'Song of the Seventh Day' Sudath's first 35 mm film was a documentary based on the Gypsy community of Sri Lanka represented Sri Lanka at a number of foreign film festivals.


Sudath's contribution to the advertising industry has placed him among the leading directors of creative commercials, winning many industry awards in the process.

Making of Shades of Ash was not an easy task, says Sudath. He is saddened by the fact that National Film Corporation refusing to assist him with his endeavours. "They refused to finance my film due to personal matters," says Sudath. "The film rejected by local bodies has gained foreign recognition and funding,".

Sudath has done many experiments with his maiden film. For the first time a workshop was conducted for the entire film crew before commencing shooting.

The cast thanked me for organizing the workshop saying that it enabled them to get an in-depth feeling about the productions, Sudath said. The 'Muhurath Ceremony' was also a unique one. Other than the production team no special invitees were present at the ceremony.

From the transport team to the key role players lit a lamp at the ceremony, which symbolized every 'little work' is appreciated when making the film.

Sudath is unable to say an exact date when he would be able to screen the film for local audiences.

More than the local audience my target is to get international attention because the film speaks about the people affected by the war and how they adapt to rebuilding their lives and homes, while compromising with the newly emerged socio-economic culture that has been nurtured within the 'business' of war and peace, says Sudath.

Shades of Ash is directed by Sudath Mahadivulwewa, producer Dr. Krishan Deheragoda, executive producer Aryasheela Wickremanayake, co-scriptwriters Sudath Mahadivulwewa and Sarathchandra Gamplath, camera director Ruwan Costa, editor Elmo Haliday, sound designer Ruwan Sri Walpola and Music Director Dr. Premesiri Kemadasa.

The cast include Jayalath Manoratne, Sriyantha Mendis, Mahendra Perera, Dilhani Ekanayake, Sanath Gunathilake, Irangani Seresinghe, Edward Gunawardena, Kumudu Nishantha, Madusanka Mendis, Koshila Jayawardena, Tyron Michael, Wasantha Kotuwella, Gunadasa Madurasinghe, Nilupuli Jayawardena and Dimuthu Chanthaka.

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