Akasa Kusum' (Flowers in the Sky), the latest cinematic direction by the award winning filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage had its international premiere at the Pusan International Film Festival, in Pusan, Korea, last week.
Woven around a tragedy faced by a once popular actress who now leads a secluded life in her own world, Prasanna makes his first movie with legendery Sri Lankan actress Malani Fonseka.
The film had its official release at Pusan International Film Festival on October 5 with the participation of director Vithanage.
Pusan is no strange place to Prasanna as it was there he won his first international award, at the first Pusan International Film festival, where his second feature, "Anantha Rathriya (Dark Night of the Soul)," was awarded a Jury Special Mention for Best Asian Director.
The film was screened in the New Currents section in 1996 and since then, all of Vithanage's films have been showcased at the PIFF.
The Pusan International Film Festival has established itself as a hub of Asian and international cinema in recent years. This year, the festival will unveil over 300 films from 60 countries.
"Akasa Kusurn" tells the story of faded actress Sandhya Rani (played by Malini Fonseka), who is suddenly thrust into the media spotlight when she is embroiled in a minor scandal.
Sandiya Rani, a former star, makes a living by providing a secret place for celebrity couples. One day a scandal is leaked out from her house, but surprisingly the public pays more attention to Rani.
And thanks to that, she begins acting again. Meanwhile, Priya, the secret daughter of Rani, works in a Karaoke bar, is infected with HIV, and gets pregnant. She calls Rani, but refuses to see her when Rani comes to see her. Rani finds a way to help her daughter, whom she abandoned a long time ago to become a huge star.
However Priya lets go of any hatred she once had toward her mother, and tries to understand every circumstance. She gives birth with a strong will not to repeat her mother's mistakes.
Others in the stellar cast include Nimmi Harasgama, Dilhani Ekanayake, Kaushalya Fernando, Samanalee Fonseka and Jayani Senanayake.
The film was produced by H. D. Premasiri for Sarasavi Cineru and A. Sreekar Prasad for Film Freaks.
Director of photography is M. D. Mahindapala and production designers are Sujeewa Paranahewa and Shermila Fernando. Edited by Sreekar Prasad, the music director is Lakshman Joseph De Saram.
Following its premiere in Pusan, "Akasa Kusum" will travel to New York, for the New York South Asian Film Festival and is scheduled to travel the global festival circuit before the Sri Lankan release in early 2009.