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Impressed with maiden movie Anjalika:

Indian company to invest in Channa’s second movie

CHANNA PERERA is to start shooting his movie Sanda Diya Salu towards the beginning of February.

Nisal has become dispirited following his wife Nimesha’s death when soft-spoken Anuttara comes into his life. Nisal finds it hard just to think of bearing it up when he realises something inescapable about Anuttara; he is made to live with the inescapable reality.
 


Channa and Pooja

The movie duration is two hours and 20 minutes lesser than Channa’s cinematic debut Anjalika. Malini Fonseka and Lakshman Mendis will be included in the cast. Channa also hopes to include Pooja Umashankar in one of the lead roles.

Sanda Diya Salu is a joint production of the National Film Corporation (NFC) and Gemini Company, one of the oldest in Indian Cinema industry sharing an investment of Rs. 30 million. The historic event took place on December 7 - the first agreement ever to be signed with a foreign enterprise.

Indian cinema investors have grown up an interest in investing on Sri Lankan industry because of the recent launch of commercially profitable films like Anjalika.

The award winning classical Sinhala movies have hardly achieved a sufficient income according to NFC. The high rate of Sri Lankan rupee against Indian currency is also a cynosure for the Indian investor.

Gemini’s Managing Director Thivashankar Prasad said they would not regret investing in Sri Lankan Cinema industry.

“We have seen Anjalika before, and came to know about Sri Lanka’s commercial cinema industry. We have no problems in investing here, since one Indian Rupee is equivalent to three Sri Lankan Rupees,” Prasad said.

Speaking on his debut Channa Perera said that Anjalika was made out of minimal facilities.

“We did not have enough facilities when making Anjalika just to compare with Hollywood and Bollywood. But since we made a commercial film, we were able to generate a sufficient income from that. Now we should go beyond the local producer, as our cinema is expanding,” Perera said.

Sanda Diya Salu is to be screened in 10 Gemini run cinema complexes. Each complex accommodates 10 screening studios; it is to be shown in three languages, Telegu, Tamil and Sinhala the original language.

According to the agreement, Gemini will bear the expenditure of camera and other technical equipment and the Indian actresses, if there are any, while the NFC will be responsible for shooting and the local cast. According to NFC Chairman Ashoka Serasinghe, it is expected to stop the huge amount of foreign currency being spent on the local cinema.

“It so happened when I visited India once on an official visit. I met a number of Indian cinema company directors. On the acquaintance made there, some of them even visited Sri Lanka. Any foreign Director coming to Sri Lanka would first visit National Film Corporation. Our encounter with Gemini took place in this way,” Serasinghe said.

Sri Lanka has been a constant buyer of Gemini equipment.


Dialog TV launches Citi Hitz

Dialog TV (DTV) launched its latest Satellite channel ‘Citi Hitz’ on December 10 at Hilton Colombo. Citi Hitz is Sri Lanka’s first uninterrupted 24-hour Sinhala movie and teledrama channel. The occasion was sparkled by the audio visual presentations of movies and teledramas, scheduled to be telecasted following the launch of the channel.
 


Pictures by Wimal Karunathileke
From left: Sumithra Pieris, Geetha Kumarasinghe, Nimal Lakshapathiarachchi, Nushard Perera, Dr. Hans Wijesuriya

Citi Hitz will feature Sinhala movies and teledrama including Director’s cut editions, the making of popular movies and interviews with artistes. The viewers would be able to enjoy full length movies and teledramas ranging from classic hits from the 1960s to the latest blockbusters with no commercial breaks.

The Satellite channel is available free of charge during the promotion period and will be rented at Rs. 30 on a monthly basis from April 2008.

Citi Hitz is a concept of Dr. Hans Wijesuriya, Dialog Telekom CEO and Nimal Lakshapathiarachchi, OnAir World Pvt Ltd Chairman.


 Sumithra Pieris address the gathering

“When Dr. Wijesuriya first wanted me to gear up this concept, I was bit reluctant as I knew the choatic situation of Sri Lankan cinema. But he insisted until the concept became a reality. If not for his driving force, this concept still would have been as it is,” Lakshapathiarachchi recalled. He added that this channel should not be considered another TV channel.

Veteran cinema director Sumithra Pieris expressed her pleasure in witnessing this event as the Guest Speaker.

“If my husband Dr. Lester James Pieris was present at this event, he would have been the happiest. The audio visual presentations brought me a nostalgic feeling. I was some decades back for a moment,” Pieris said. According to Dialog TV CEO Nushard Peera, the current DTV customer base is about 50,000 and is expected to reach 100,000 shortly.

“What is remarkable about this is that we don’t have commercial breaks. But that does not mean we have totally ignored them. We do have advertisements at the end of a particular movie or a teledrama.” Nushard Perera, Dialog TV CEO told Daily News.

DTV operates Dialog Satellite TV, a Direct to Home (DTH) Satellite TV service. It also carries international contents like CNN, BBC, HBO, Cinemax, AXN, ESPN, Ten Sports, Discovery Channel, MTV (Music Television) and Cartoon Network, in addition to a wide range of Sri Lankan television channels.


ABC Films brings to light a courageous journey of arch rivals

It was not an exciting adventure but a flight for survival. There was a smell of fear and danger in every move. What was a routine assignment turned out to be a living nightmare.
 


Suranga (Kamala) and Saumya (Captain Wasantha)

Captain Wasantha and the activist Kamala were bitter enemies at the start of their journey but they soon learnt that the mode of escaping is only through union.
 


John Shiran Dissanayake,    Chandran Rutnam

From the uncertain expeditions of miliary life, through nature’s turmoil and tough choices, the courageous journey of two opposing individuals will soon take over the wide screen as ABC Films (Private) Ltd brings forth a film based on Nihal de Silva’s award winning novel, “The Road from Elephant Pass” (Alimankada Sita).

ABC Films (Private) Limited is a member of the ABC Group of companies. Its chairman, John Shiran Dissanayake, had entered the cinema field by producing the 603rd Sinhala movie, Rajina, which was directed by Thilak Lakshman Seneviratne and starred Amarasiri Kalansooriya, Shirani Nugera, Linton Semage, Mervyn Jayatunga, Somi Ratnayake, Menike Attanayake, Wijeratne Warakagoda, Somalatha Subasinghe and many others.

Now 23 years after his first cinematic creation, Dissanayake had teamed up with the internationally renowned film director and producer, Chandran Rutnam and Orville Pereira, joint managing director of the company, to bring to life “The Road from Elephant Pass”.

“I was inspired to produce films after I caught a glimpse of my uncle, Frank Gunasekera’s production, Hondama Welawa. He co-produced the film with Sarath Rupasinghe and the director was Lenin Morais. The cast included Gamini Fonseka, Malini Fonseka and Vijaya Kumaratunge,” Dissanayake reflected.

“ABC Films possess a vision to make quality films that will be seen and appreciated around the world,” explained Chanran Rutnam, joint managing director and chairman of Film Location Services.

“Sri Lanka had become a very famous location and I have supervised the location production of over 35 international films such as ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’, ‘Jungle Book II’, ‘Tarzan the Ape Man’, ‘Mother Theresa’, ‘Beyond Rangoon’ and ‘Indochina’. We were not partners in those films but service providers. Now, with this production things will change.

We will produce films that will bring in foreign exchange. It is no myth but a possibility,” Rutnam stressed.

Suranga Ranawaka will make her entrance to cinema opposite Saumya Liyanage. Shooting will commence on January 14, 2008. The film will be released around August next year. The muhurath ceremony of the film was held on December 13.


The 12th International Film Festival in Kerala

The 12th International Film Festival of the Kerala State in India that began on the 7th of this month soon after the IFFI in Goa ended on the 14th. The Festival was well organised and the selection of films worldwide and also among other Indian languages was appreciable. All films had subtitles in English. The Festival was categorised as follows:

Competition Films, Indian Cinema today, Malayalam Cinema Now, Shorts and documentaries, World Cinema, Jury Screenings, Retrospective; Jean Luc Godard, Kim Ki Duk, Isabella Huppert, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, and Women from Maghreb, Focus on Turkish Cinema in the 1970s and 1980s, Focus on Young Turks: Heimat Films from Germany, Sports documentaries and Santiago Alvarez: News Reels.

From the above one could gauge the knowledge ability and critical awareness of the organisers. Literacy rate in Kerala is very high. Malayalam, akin to Thamil is the language spoken here.

Some of the greatest Indian writers and intellectuals have hailed from Kerala. Some of the Lankan Sinhalese and Thamilians have their forefathers and mothers hailing from Kerala as well. There is a commonality between the Malayalees and Lankans in many respects.

For the 10th time the competition films were screened: A Border for Life (Iran), Daybreak (Iran), Playing in the Dark (Brazil), Silver Salt (Brazil), Kekexili; the mountain patrol (China) Stolen Life

(China),I Love Cinema (Egypt), Bride of Silence (Vietnam),Arizona Sun (Argentina), Hi-Bi (Japan), Guerrilla Market ting (Sri Lanka- This film is by our own Jayantha Chandrasiri),Views of the Inner Chamber(India),Dreaming Lhasa (India), When the Rain Comes (India)

The films shown under World Cinema section were Jew Boy (Australia), Carmen in Khayelitsha (South Africa), Forgiveness (South Africa), Tickets (Italy, UK, Iran), Life is a miracle (Yugoslavia), Delamu (China, Japan), Shangai Dreams (China), The Wayward Clod (France, Taiwan), The Women of Rosenstrasse (Germany, Netherlands), Sophie Scholl (Germany), Kilometer Zero (France, Iraq, Finland), Peacock (China0, Sometimes in April (France, USA, Rwanda), Social Genocide (Switzerland, France, Argentina), Waiting for the Clouds (Turkey, France, Germany, Greece), When the Right One Comes along (Germany, Switzerland), Evil (Sweden), Of Love and Eggs (Indonesia),

Accused (Denmark), Tuning (Slovenia) Contact (Macedonia), Noriko’s Dinner table (Japan), The Murmuring Coast (Portugal), My Nikifor (Poland), Free Zone (Israel, Belgium, France, Spain), Sulanga (Sri Lanka -our own Bennett Rathnayake’s film), The Unburied Man (Hungary), Turtles can Fly (Iran,

France, Iraq), Olga (Brazil), Divine Intervention (France, Morocco, Germany, Palestine), Hitler cantata (Germany), The Sun (Russia, France, Italy, Switzerland), Lost Domain (France, Italy, Romania, Spain), Looking for Alexandra (Canada), Mandelay (Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands France, Germany), Ice on Fire (Italy0, The White Blue Yonder (Germany), Hotel Rwanda (USA, UK, Italy, South Africa), Three Days of anarchy (Italy), Tropical Malady (India) and Kaalpururush (India).

I will stop at that. There were other films too. This list was given for our readers who might like to see these films in some format. Maybe sometime later I might write about the films at the IFFI and IFFK.

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