SRI LANKAN filmmaker Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s debut feature film ‘Flying Fish’ which went on to win the Tiger Prize at the International Film Festival Rotterdam earlier this year swept up the Blue Chameleon Award at the Cinema Digital Seoul Festival, which wrapped up last week.
Chosen by an international jury of critics and academics, the film was also given a special mention by the jury of the Red Chameleon Award. Pushpakumara spoke in fluent Korean and English at the ceremony and dedicated the award to the Korean people for sponsoring his current film studies in Korea.
‘Flying Fish’, in Sinhala, ‘Igillena Maluwo’ is a 2011 anthology film directed by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara. The film was produced with the financial support of the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) and made its world premiere on 28 January, 2011, as part of the Rotterdam festival's Tiger Awards Competition. The film had its North American premiere at the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival on 7 June, 2011, as an entry in the New Directors' Competition. The film which draws on stories from the director's life in his hometown of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, where the film was shot, has been noted for its political value, beautiful cinematography, long takes, and shocking violence.
A beautiful village girl falls in love with a soldier, when her father, harassed and humiliated by the soldiers, commits suicide. A middle-aged widow takes care of her eight children in a village filled with tension between the army and the Tamil Tigers. Her son catches her having a sex with a local. His frustration drives him to something terrible. One night, Tamil Tigers break into a girl’s house and demand a huge ransom for her. She manages to escape but they gun down at her parents. Through three parallel stories, this visually highly potent drama touches the core of the tragedy of the war.
Sanjeewa Pushpakumara was born in 1977 in Sri Lanka. In 2006, he majored in filmmaking from National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka. Sanjeewa has worked as a freelance journalist, radio and television presenter, scriptwriter and producer. In 2007, he received a scholarship from the Korean government to study filmmaking at the Asian Young Film Forum. At present, he’s pursuing postgraduate degree in Chung-Ang University, South Korea. His first short film ‘Touch’ (2007) won the Special Jury Prize at Youth New Wave International Film Festival in Sri Lanka.
‘Flying Fish’ was also nominated for the NETPAC Award at the 40th International Film Festival Rotterdam, the New Directors Award at the 37th Seattle International Film Festival, the Silesian Film Award at the Ars Independent International Film Festival 2011 Katowice, the Lino Micciche Award at the 47th Pesaro International Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale de Nuova Cinema) and the New Territories Competition at the St. Petersburg International Film Festival "KINOFORUM" 2011.