A different view

David Stephens speaks with two young film makers about their journey in documenting the progress of local heavy metal bands, Pix by Bertie Mendis

Heavy Metal music enjoys enviable popularity in Sri Lanka and its growth over the past few years has brought with it an abundance of unique talent as well as a diehard fan base.

Sadly however, many from the metal loving masses are deprived of any quality video footage or commentary about the local heavy metal scene. It was chiefly for this reason that ‘Arise’, a low budget documentary which highlights the exploits of four diverse heavy metal bands, was created.

Naveen Marasinghe Dinesh Guneratne

‘Arise’ is the brainchild of Dinesh Guneratne and Naveen Marasinghe, two ambitious filmmakers and graphic designers who shared a deep love for rock music. With a standard camera, ill-suited to capture the full length quality footage that a documentary demands, they managed to get several interviews as well as bits of live footage from ‘Funeral in Heaven’, ‘Fallen Grace’, ’Merlock’, and ‘Cannabis’, over the course of nearly two years.

“We chose them because they are different kinds of heavy metal bands. Funeral in Heaven is Black Metal, Fallen Grace is Melodic Death, Merlock is Thrash Progressive and Cannabis is Sludge Metal,” Naveen explains.

He further states that many Sri Lankans view heavy metal as a genre indulged in by devilish long haired freaks with overgrown beards, a misconception he and Dinesh sought to erase.

“The theme we used while filming the documentary was ‘the music, the life, the reason’. We wanted people to understand this type of music and what being a rocker is about, the high points as well as the hardships,” Dinesh reveals.

Judging by the turnout for the two screenings of the 71 minute finished product both men feel they have achieved this goal and add that the sizable crowd was more than sufficient payment for the hard work and sacrifice they put in.

“We had so many difficulties while shooting, sometimes we would have to throw out large segments because the quality was bad, even the camera, a JVC Mini DV, was given to us by a friend,” Naveen laments.

When asked about their plans for any future heavy metal film projects, both men sport a worried expression and reveal that they lack the finances required for such an endeavour but say if they are provided with suitable support it could be a possibility.

‘Arise’ is currently not freely available on the market owing to the fact that it was created solely to inspire and not for any financial gain. However Naveen and Dinesh do have plans to distribute it at concerts staged by the four bands, both in Colombo as well as in Kandy.

Those who want to get hold of a copy before these concerts can log onto the documentary’s website www.arisethemetaldoc.com and get in touch with Dinesh and Naveen.

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