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‘Arctica’ set to focus the spotlight on Sri Lankan Cinema

Aug 19, 2011 3:26:06 PM - www.ft.lk

By Cheranka Mendis
Local cinema has often been criticised for its lack of substance, failed attempts of plagiarisms and unbearable humour. While many are quick to point their finger, laugh and sneer at the many films that come out, most just shrug and walk away and wait for the next chance to pass judgment.

For four boys who loved art and culture, sitting still, while others did nothing but talk it was an inspiration to try their hand at something new. Something that just might be what local cinema needs.

‘Arctica’ a short film presented by Bomeetspixel Pictures, a company formed by four friends Muvindu Binoy, Ramesh Laktharu, Pamuditha Anjana, and Praveen Asith is now ready to be sent to Nepal for the ‘Nepal Cine Symposium 2011’ to be screened alongside other short films from the region.
The Symposium is a film and art event aiming to promote and communicate aspects of cinema that are not facilitated by film festivals or by regular aspects of commercial filmmaking. It is scheduled to be held in mid-September this year.
The film ‘Arctica’ is not a film that one would usually see on screen; in fact it is a film that everyone of us plays in our heads from time to time. “It is about a girl in her late 20s who feels trapped and is trying desperately to escape her steadfast, mundane life and her miserable relationship conflicts,” Muvindu Binoy, Director of the film explained. Written within a period of four months, the storyline is acted out by Miranga Ariyaratne, Vraie Balthazaar and Indrachapa Liyanage in a 20 minute play.
Speaking to Weekend FT, Binoy stated that the short film is expected to be sent to other international film festivals and competitions as well in the future. It is scheduled to be screened in Sri Lanka in October, after the Nepal symposium. “We want to promote local cinema and take it out to the world. Many are quick to criticise but no one really wants to do anything. It is sad to see people who actually know about films and the business being silent at a time when something should be done to uplift the industry,” Binoy said.
“The main reason for us to take this movie to the Nepal Cine Symposium is to promote local cinema and show this aspect of local cinema to the world. It is not about winning, it’s about creating awareness and giving and receiving exposure.”
The Bomeetspixel group is run by Ramesh Laktharu as cinematographer, Pamuditha Anjana as writer, Praveen Asith as art and production designer and Muvinda Binoy as director.
Binoy stated that the original script included the same plot with a male character. “We started with the male character but soon realized it become too obvious. A male writer writing a story about a male trying to make it through. We switched to a female character, included some twists and incidents and we thought it was interesting how things changed.”
For Binoy and his friends this is not the first time in trying their hand out in filmmaking. “I completed my A Levels at Wesley College in 2008 and was looking for a job in graphic designing. Meanwhile I tried my hand at photography and loved it. Back in school I was more into music and didn’t really think about it.
Once I started photography, I found that I liked it and then Laktharu, a friend since school joined in and we tried jamming with photos and graphics. This is how everything started,” he said.  
Their first short film was completed in early 2009 and was titled ‘The Package.’ “I came up with a simple story and everything from coming up with the story to acting it out and filming was done in a day,” Binoy laughs. “No one really knew how it was going to be. We didn’t know anything about movies. We had a few lines in our head, called a few friends in to act it out and then there it was!” Their next one was titled ‘Anthropocentric’, a psychological drama and then ‘Disown’, a horror film completed in 2010.
“We started this for our own pleasure. It was nothing big. We had the basic equipment, we had the drive and we were all inspired by the movies we watched and typically, it’s a hobby taken one step further. The short films we did were posted on Facebook and Youtube and the response we got was encouraging. People called, said it was a good try and asked us when the next one was coming out. It was inspiring.”
Backed by encouragement from friends and peers and even strangers, Binoy and his friends decided to take it to the next level.
The four now look at it as a professional occupation; it is no longer a mere hobby. “It is not as simple as that. Making films, albeit a short film, is a lot of work. There is the production cost, ideas, timing and so much more to look at,” he said. As at now, the four put in all their time, effort and money into doing what they love best.
“We hope a good producer sees it and offers their help, experience-wise even. The four of us have not really pursued any education on the matter.”
“We like what we do. It is simple, short and underground.”

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