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Friday, 26 October 2012






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Reality based MOVIES BRING ties closer

The first ever Sri Lanka Italian film festival along with its workshops came to a successful conclusion last weekend in Colombo.

This event brought together two very prominent international people who are very much involved in the film industry – Director Paola Randi and Curator for short movies festivals Stefano Martina to Sri Lanka for a three day film festival and workshop. This gave a great opportunity to young talented up coming and ‘want-to-be’ film directors to learn more about making, directing and producing feature films and short movies.

The Italian Embassy in Sri Lanka together with Boodee Keerthisena, Colombo Courtyard, Srilankan Airlines, National Film Corporation and Cine City managed to bring about the best of the best of young directors into the limelight.

Speaking at a small media briefing held at the Scarlet Restaurant of the Colombo Courtyard, the Italian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Fabrizio Pio Arpea said that this is a special effort to encourage young Sri Lankan filmmakers to show their talent plus build a cultural tie with the two countries.

The theme for the festival - ‘Migration and Beyond’ was chosen because of the current situations on many people migrating to other countries legally and illegally to find a better life and a better source of income and then facing the hardships when they cross the border and rebuild their life.

There were four short films that were shown namely: The Plain – Story of a young immigrant from Burkina Faso, who tries to rejoin his best friend after having taken part in the racial rebellion in Rosarno. It is based on true events. The film was Directed by Jonas Carpignano (New York, USA, 1984). Jovid – is a story of an Afghan boy who migrated to Italy and works in a kebab shop. Jovid will live in a completely personal way the news of an attack claimed by the Talibans in the Afghan capital right on the day of her cousin’s wedding. The film is Directed by Silvia Perra.

The Second Family – This tells a story about a 25 year old social assistant Margherita, who teaches Italian to Alina Rodtchenko who has recently arrived in Italy and establishes a relationship with her and her family which goes beyond the “professional” relationship. Directed by Alberto Dall’Ara. The last one is Cricket Cup - through the life fragments of five characters, an immigrants population is found out, the Sri Lankans, who have been able to root well and to settle in Naples.

But the most interesting discovery is their ability to do and to organize cricket tournaments also with trophies and prizes, in a nation, Italy, where most people doesn’t even know what this word means. Sagara and his cricket team of Naples, after having found a sponsor and a bus, leave in the middle of the night for a national tournament, searching glory and success for one day at least. The film duration is 52 minutes and is Directed by Massimiliano Pacifico and Diego Liguori.

“There were 6 films we chose for the competition and they were Route by Sumeda Jayawardena, The Letter by Anoma Weerasekara, La Bbe Thoile by Thisara Imbulana, Ciao by Ilan Hossen, Transition by Ajantha Wijewardana and Hitchichi by Asanka Neelawathura. Out of these six, three were to be chosen for the Best films category”, Boodee Keerthisena said. The film which won first place was Ciao, second place was La Bbe Thoile and third place was Route. There was also a Special Jury mention to Attachment by Randi Pavithra Kaluarachchi.

The mornings of October 19, 20 and 21 were taken for workshops where Stefano Martina and Paola Randi got the chance to answer many queries of budding filmmakers. Here they were able to show the international short films of yesteryear and today.

“Showing films is the best way to understand and learn about cinema”, Paola Randi added. We will be focusing on transition and teach them how to translate the words on a script to a moving image. When asked as to why she was so interested in Sri Lanka, she stated that in Naples there is a large community of Sri Lankan living there and who have made that place their home even though its a very tough place for people to live in.

“The Sri Lankan community is very big there and they have managed to live there with a feel of Sri Lanka, two local TV channels for themselves, schools for Sri Lankan children with uniforms (something that is not seen much in the schools in Italian), temples and Buddhists monks. This place is a like hidden treasure”, she went on saying further.

Boodee Keerthisena, Colombo Courtyard Managing Director Arun Thapar, Paola, Italian Ambassador Fabrizio Pio Arpea and Stefano

Director Paola did so many other things in her life before she began her career in making films and at some point her parents were concerned about her becoming a filmmaker. She has a law degree which she followed because her father is lawyer and her mother (who passed away in 2000) was a leader in one of the many organizations for social issues and others.

“I have somewhat a double life. I worked in a PR company in Rome. I used to paint, sing, dance and kept on searching with friends for that something that would be complete and it was then that I heard about the Theatre Festival”, she added. I began working with short films and basically all my short films for experimenting and looking for my own vision.

The two directors posing at one the Colombo Courtyard’s
unique trees

Following three workshops, Silvana Gustii was selected for a Belrina Scholarship for films and followed classes. Most of my films are like fairy tales but depicting real life problems and issues faced by the society.

One of Paola’s films Into Paradiso (Into Paradise) was the first to be featured at the festival inauguration. The story goes as - Alfonso is a scientist from Naples. A shy and clumsy man, he has just lost his job. Gayan is a fascinating former Sri Lankan cricket champion who has just arrived in Naples penniless and thinks he’s found paradise. Alfonso has spent all his life studying the migration of cells and watching soap operas with his mum.

Gayan has travelled, has known fame, glory and money. What brings these two men together? How can such different people possibly have nothing in common yet become inextricably bound together? In multi-ethnic Naples, the destinies of Alfonso and Gayan become entangled, and they find themselves sharing a shack put up illegally on the roof of a building in the heart of the city’s Sri Lankan district. Through a tragi-comic misunderstanding, Alfonso has to hide from a gang of criminals, and Gayan first becomes a hostage then his only friend and ally. This paradoxical situation gives birth to a special sort of friendship between the two, a bond that will give them the courage to face their individual destinies, changing them for ever. This movie won the Platinum Award as Best Film at the 45th edition of the Houston International Film Festival in 2012.

Out of 70 short movies received they chose a limited number where the best three won.


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