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Monday, 2 May 2011






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Thrillers and chillers!





* Nadeesha Hemamali
* Deshani Pathirana
* Kalana Gunasekara
* Menaka Rajapaksa
* Nanda Wickrama

Executive producers

* Sunil T Fernando
* Chandran Rutnam
* Palika Fonseka
* Gazi Jainulabdeen
* Sharmaine Martenstyn



* Script and direction: Udana Fonseka
* Producers: Udana Fonseka and Ray Jay
* Co- Producer: Nadeesha Hemamali
* Director of photography and editor: Ray Jay
* Composer: Mahesh Kay
* Studio: Grindout Productions Ltd.


The mystery, tension and excitement behind thrillers have become a magnetic force in attracting audience to theatres in masses for years. Alfred Hitchcock films mastered this art and productions from the 1960s Psycho to the more recent Shutter Island cast a spell of suspense, keeping movie buffs glued to their seats.

Nadeesha in a scene from Train to Kandy

Suspense and tension

Now two young filmmakers, Udana Fonseka and Ray Jay, have gotten together to bring Train to Kandy, a crime and drama thriller to wow the local and international audience. Set in locations in Colombo and armed with a hard hitting plot about a murder case Train to Kandy comes as a joint production between the duo under their company Grindout Productions Ltd.

"I met Ray at a workshop conducted by Sammy Powell in 2004. We have made a couple of short films together before deciding to try our hand at making feature films. Our first movie was Chase. It was financed by New Zealand. Though we completed work on the project, the movie was shelved. Therefore we put our money into our second film," Udana explained.

Train to Kandy is the third feature film in the world and the first in Asia where all the scenes were shot using a DSLR camera. "More and more filmmakers use this technology to shoot their productions but we are among the pioneers. Ray and I have a preference for thrillers.

We noticed that many Sri Lankan people go for such movies even though they might not understand the dialogs," he said. Train to Kandy is about 24 year old prostitute named Jenny and a 14 year old runaway called Amanda. They try all means to escape from the clutches of a diabolic thug named Marlon because he suspects them of murdering his father.

Nadeesha Hemamali portrays Jenny while a new face, Deshani Pathirana, had taken on Amanda's character. The movie introduces another youth, Kalana Gunasekara, to cinema.

"I have known Nadeesha for some time. She is an instinctive actress. She is able to get into the core of the character quickly. She also went along with the image we had in mind for Jenny. I came upon Deshani by chance while hunting for a flat to shoot in Colombo. It was a lucky find because she fitted into her role beautifully," Udana said. He also added that working with Ray is a wonderful experience. The two have a great understanding and have collaborated well in past productions.

Ray had worked as an editor, cinematographer and visual effects artist since 2002. He co-directed, produced, cinematographed and edited The Ocean Was My Best Friend in 2004 and also co-produced, cinematographed and edited Hope. Both short films were based on the 2004 tsunami and were among the top 50 short films at the 2005 World Fest-Houston International Film Festival. They also made it to the finals to compete for the award for best cinematography.

Ray directed and produced The Corrupted, a 15 minute short film highlighting the drug world in Colombo. Since graduating from South Seas Film and Television School and Auckland University, Ray worked as an animator and visual effects artist for Med TV, New Zealand. Later he headed the post production unit of the television. He had worked on Star Wars: The Clone Wars in Singapore, and is currently working on his solo directorial d‚but, a science fiction, action thriller called Re-Entry.

"It is a stand alone sequel to the British movie Monsters. It is a co-production with Britain and America," Udana noted.

They hope to premiere Train to Kandy in Europe or North America this year.

New York Festivals honours Sri Lankan film

 Rutnam with his award

The 2011 New York International Television and Film Awards was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in conjunction with the NAB Show. The multi-day event brought the most talented personalities in the world to the fabulous city of Las Vegas. This year's New York Festivals Awards ceremony honoured the 2011 winners by showcasing the year's best Television programming and films from all over the globe, supplemented by the presentation of the first Lifetime Achievement Award.

The programme began with Red Carpet Interviews, followed by a cocktail reception. In the Best Film category, five films were selected by the New York Festivals Grand Jury and out of over 150 films, from 36 countries, the Sri Lanka film, The Road from Elephant Pass, (Alimankada) directed, produced and written by Chandran Rutnam, was a Finalist Award Winner. The Awards presentation highlighted five genres of programming - Films and Television, Documentary, Corporate Films, News and Sports.

Rollercoaster journey to the past

Cast and characters

*Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva as King Dutugamunu
*Pubudu Chaturanga as Sherlock Holmes
* Wasantha Kumaravilla as Veera Puran Appu
*Mihira Sirithilaka as Aladdin
*Janaka Ranasinghe as the ghost of the lamp
*Sandani Sulakkana as the fairy
*Kokila Pawan
*Thrishnu Perera
* Nipun Lanka
*Sanjali Amandani
*Dinuli Mallawarachchi
*Dilki Nethmini


Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva with Kusum Renu and Palitha Silva

Uncork the time machine and expect to be bewitched by the compelling touch of a fairy with the launch of Suneth Malinga Lokuhewa's latest fantasy movie Suranganna Loven Avilla. The movie filled with action, excitement and drama hopes to bring a touch of Hollywood adventure style to Sri Lankan Cinema.

The movie is aimed specifically for kids. The story will revolve around six kids who set sail on an exciting thrill ride to the glory days of past, after being bewitched by a fairy. The fairy casts a spell on them and sends them to meet some of their ardent idols. On their exciting rollercoaster of a ride to history, they meet Sherlock Holmes, Aladdin, King Dutugmanu and Veera Puran Appu.

Suneth Malinga Lokuhewa

Shooting will commence soon. Charming actress Sandani Sulakkana will play the role of the fairy. After making an appearance on Swarnawahini's reality programs, Deputy Highways Minister Mervyn Silva will start another chapter in the arts arena, with his role in the movie as King Dutugamunu.

"I am not trying to be Dutugamunu through this character. He is just someone that I really love and I know, I can play this role very well," the Deputy Minister said. Pubudu Chaturanga will give life to the much loved Sherlock Holmes. Wasantha Kumaravilla will play the role of Veera Puran Appu while Mihira Sirithilaka will bring Aladdin's character to life.

Peeking into the world of fantasy

Comedian Janaka Ranasinghe or else known as Rathu Malli from Api Noddanna Live will portray the role of the genie in Aladdin's lamp. Kokila Pawan, Thrishnu Perera, Nipun Lanka, Sanjali Amandani, Dinuli Mallawarachchi, Dilki Nethmini are the child actors involved in the project. Suneth is no amateur to the film industry. He rose to fame with his recent hit Sinhavalokanaya.

"It is important to understand the psychology of the child. It is only after understanding their mindset that we can make a cinematic creation which will hold their interest till the very last scene," Suneth said.

Surangana Loven Avilla promises to be an exciting cinematic venture which will keep the whole family entertained. Pictures by Ruwan de Silva




Rejuvenating Sinhala cinema

Attractive Proposals

* Female viewers will only be charged with half of the ticket price
* University students will also get the same benefits
*Attractive raffle competitions
* The offers will be valid mostly for local movies
* The proposals will be put in to action from this month


The glory days of Sinhala Cinema were nothing but a nostalgic memory. Unlike its heydays in 70s and 80s, people rarely queue in front of cinema halls to watch the latest films.

A scene from Colour

The National Film Cooperation (NFC) has come up with some attractive proposals to draw people towards cinema halls to overcome this dilemma. Among the suggested proposals, probably the most attractive one would be the reduction of ticket prices for the female viewers. Women will only be charged with half of the ticket price from May. Anyone with a student identity card is also eligible for the offer.

This refers mainly to the university students. School children will not be eligible for the offer. The offer is valid mostly for the local movies. They have also organized a raffle system, where the viewers are provided with a chance to win attractive prizes. After each movie, viewers are expected to deposit their tickets to a raffle bin, where they will be given a chance participate in a raffle competition.

Speaking at the press briefing NFC Chairman Kumar Abeysinghe noted, "People have got addicted to television. To be frank, they no longer feel the need to come to cinema. Therefore, we are faced with the challenging task of drawing them out of their living rooms to the cinema halls. If we have don't promise them an enjoyable cinema experience, they won't come to the cinema."

However none of those offers will matter, if movie makers fail to come up with good movies. Cheap ticket prices or promise for prizes alone will not draw people towards cinema halls. Movie makers have to make good movies. As long as they make good movies, people will come to watch them.

Otherwise cheap, commercial based, dull creations won't draw people towards the halls. "Yes, I know sometimes we go to cinema halls and come out cursing the film. Therefore, the most important thing would be to provide people with good movies. However I don't think all is dire for Sinhala cinema. I recently watched a new movie called Colour which was a very refreshing experience. If we make movies of such quality, they will come to cinema and things will improve for the better." Abeysinghe said.

The year will mark the launch of more than dozen Sinhala movies. Mahindagamanaya, Daruwana, Pilikadathurawa, Selvam, Sweet Angel, Kuru Mittek Avilla and Thank You Berty are set to release this year.

Siritunga gives life to Kondadeniye Hamuduruwo



- Local artistes

*Ranjan Ramanayake
*Wasanthi Chathurani
*Mahendra Perera
*Sathischandra Edirisinghe
*Duleeka Marapana
*Bimal Jayakody
*Arjun Kamalanath
*Kumara Thirimadura
* Somaweera Gamage
*Nivanka Darshani
*Mangala Madugalla
*Nalinda Prasad
*G R Perera
* Saman Weerasiri Ranjith Silva

- Foreign artistes

* Nathalia Ivanovna
* Alexander Ivanovna
* Elena Adaskova
*Swetlana Sergevana
* Mayura Thennakoon


Kondadeniye Hamuduruwo Kala Nikum (Wonders of Ven Kondadeniye Thera), a book written by the senior journalist, Nandasena Suriyaarachchi will be brought to life by filmmaker B Siritunga Perera.

 The cast, crew and guests at the muhurath ceremony

The film is based in the Kondadeniya village in Yapahuwa where Ven Kondadeniye Thera's magical powers still exist. Villagers believe in these stories since he is considered to be a Buddhist monk embodying such powerful capabilities. He comes second only to Ven Thotaganuwe Sri Rahula Thera.

Some of the most seasoned personalities in the industry and some foreign artistes are involved in the movie. They hope to make a quality film which will cater to international cinema.

Ranjan Ramanayake will take on the main role as Ven Kondadeniye tera. Many local artistes too will breathe life to the project along with some Russian artistes. Pushpakumara Rajaguru is the cameraman, Praveen Jayaratne the editor, Ehaliyagoda Somatileke is the art director, Kithsiri Hewagamage is the production manager, Nishantha Dharshana is the finance manager.

Nalaka Thalagala is the assistant director. He also handles the computer special effects. Gamini Costa handles the make up department. Sanath Samarakoon penned the script. Amarasiri Peries is the music director.

The film is produced by Nalinda Prasad on behalf of Art World Film Productions. Shooting will take place in Sri Lanka and locations in foreign countries. This opens a new chapter to the local film industry and one which will able to project local talent and cultural aspects to the international audience.

Prime Minister D M Jayaratne was the Chief Guest at the muhurath ceremony of Kondadeniye Hamuduruwo. Cultural Affairs Minister T B Ekanayake and NFC Chairman Kumar Abeysinghe too graced the occasion.

Kondadeniye Hamuduruwo is Siritunga Perera's second film. His maiden movie was Kanyavi.

Platinum award for Teja

A scene from Teja

Nilantha Hapanweera's maiden film Teja had won an award at the 2011 Huston International Awards.

The film clinched the platinum award in the competitive feature film category. Around 453 films from 62 countries took part at the event.

The film is produced by Nita Fernando, Mahil Perera and Thilanka Perera on behalf of Miyura Cine Roo. It is based on the life of apparel workers in the country in the 19780s.

Vampire-free drama for Pattinson

A scene from Water for Elephants

Robert Pattinson wasn't worried about his dramatic acting chops while making Water for Elephants, but he is now.

The 24-year-old actor and Twilight heartthrob trades his pale skin and vampire fangs for a role as a veterinarian on a 1930s circus train in Elephants, based on the 2006 bestselling novel.

Pattinson plays Jacob Jankowski, a veterinary student forced to fend for himself after his parents are killed in a car accident. He hops a train and begins his life in a travelling circus. Water for Elephants will begin screening at Majestic cinema soon.


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