An inspired series of film camps for children, organised by The Galle Film Festival’s outreach programme drew to a close on August 24 with a celebratory screening of films from the final workshop held in Galle. The brainchild of Damita Nikapota (director of the Galle Film Festival) the programme now in its second year has been supported and funded by the U.S embassy.
Children from all parts of the country, - Puttalam, Badulla, Jaffna, Point Pedro, Batticaloa, Bandarawela, Hambantota, Anuradhapura, Moneragala, Trincomalee to name a few- from different backgrounds came together for 10 days, learnt new skills, connected with new people and ideas, made films, laughed, had fun and bonded.
Discovering common ground they found that barriers of language, ethnicity and religion were no barriers at all when letting their collectively creative imaginations loose.
Almost all of the children found the experiences personally transformative in more ways than one. Not only was this a chance to express themselves in a new medium but many discovered new friendships and hidden talents within themselves. Said Nirojan from Jaffna:’I didn’t know any Sinhala and I had never met any Sinhalese children.
The most important thing I learnt was that they are just like me.”Added Nilujan from Trincomalee : “I will never forget Buddhini Akki and Gnanadas (the workshop directors Buddhini Ekanayake and Gnadas Kasinthar) or what I learnt from them. We were able to share our experiences and ideas and enjoyed working together. My experiences of the workshop were so good that I now know what real friendship is.”
“We met lots of friends and we all worked together. We learnt about making short films. I feel the experience has changed my life,” said Supuni Shanika from Tissamaharama.
Damita Nikapota, the festival director said the camp had exceeded expectations. The children grew in confidence and developed their ability to communicate and articulate their ideas. Eight films were produced at the two camps held this year.