The Kandy International Film Festival completed its first workshop series in Batticaloa with funding provided by the Singapore International Foundation. The nine-day workshop, introduced 16 young participants to the basics of filmmaking techniques and theories. Director Sherman Ong from Singapore worked with the students on conceptual and technical methods of film production and the students developed their own short films and produced three works collaboratively.
The workshop participants were mainly from the Eastern University’s Fine Arts Department. In addition, three youth from a local theatre company “Third Eye” joined in the workshop held at St. John’s church in Batticaloa from September 10-18.
Sherman shared several of his short films with the participants as well as commentary from film critics on creating artistically successful video pieces. Among his films were several related to dance and these were particularly well received by the participants, many of whom had a strong background in dance and performance art. For most of them, this was their first exposure to producing film or video and Sherman was able to explain tangibly the difference between acting for a lens and acting on the stage. This was a key feature of the workshop, as well as the importance of minimalist dialogue and script continuity.
The workshop was organized by the Kandy International Film Festival, which held its inaugural festival in June this year. Sherman’s “Memories of a Burning Tree” was screened at the festival and he was invited to lead a workshop on film production and theory to be held in Sri Lanka’s east.
Sri Lankan filmmaker Thisara Imbulana also attended the workshop and gave insight into filmmaking in Sri Lanka. Festival directors Samuel Holt and Suba Sivakumaran were on site to assist in the workshop and provide administrative support to Sherman. Kasun Hettiarachchi and Asanka Mapitigamage from Kandy also assisted with the workshop.
The Kandy International Film Festival, an annual event, aims to conduct similar workshops in various parts of the country. For more information about the festival, visit the website at www.kandyinternationalfilmfestival.com.