TV Times

School leavers in movie making

By Susitha R. Fernando

Using basic technology, an amateur cast and an entirely novel approach to budget filmmaking ‘Behind the Scenes’, is the maiden feature film directed by Lakpathy Wijesekara.

Together with a team of after A/L students from Royal College, Lakpathy in this cinematic experience has displayed his talents with the experiences gained not only through the making of short films, filming of school events and theatre productions, but also through the premature exposure to the hardships and realities in their zealous voyage towards making their own film.

The film team with school leavers

The story follows ambitious young director Rajeeva and his three crew members on the quest of making their debut feature film. In an industry where saying ‘No’ to people is common, Rajeeva and his crew will have to tackle through production issues, casting errors and most of all, those clashing personalities which you meet off-the screen.

The group includes Rajeeva Ramanayake, Dinindu Ekanayake, Pyumal Saminda
Niranga Kaluarachchi, Ruwendi Wakwella, Thisarani Edirisinghe Lahiru Sandaruwan, Chamli Rajapakshe Shanuka Jagodarachchi, Sumudu Attygalle Nuwan Pradeep and Nawalagodagedara Janananda.

The film shot with an MD 10 000 camera, using the simplest of film equipment captures a facet of teens not touched by Sri Lankan cinema before. It narrates the story of an ambitious director dedicated and committed in Toto making his first feature yet encountering endless challenges which stem from lack of empathy, ignorance and arrogance.

Behind the screen discusses friendship, hope, respect and solitude; questions the stereotyped sarcasm which the institutionalized and organized industry sheds upon a bunch of committed, enthusiastic and revolutionist teenagers.

In the technical crew the musical score is by Kevin Macleod, Magan Nicole, Chethana Ketagoda and Kaveesha Kunasinghe, director of photography is Chanuka de Mel, art director is Banuka Vithanage and edited by Samudra Umayanga. Written by Supun Sudaraka and Kosala Senevirathne and the production manager is Chirath Abeysinghe.

‘The camera used was a Panasonic MD 10000 CC which is widely used in covering news events and other independent events. Using this type of camera was limited to film-making as it didn’t carry the level of focusing, lighting control and other adjustments needed,’ said young director explaining the hardships faced during the filmmaking.

In terms of the locations, the crew had to travel all the way to Rumassala for two days and to shoot the car scene the Malabe campus road was used with no closure which made it extremely difficult and dangerous to shoot with the incoming vehicles. Other parts of the film were shot in the Parliament grounds the crew’s private homes and streets around Colombo.

Young director Lakpathy Wijesekara.

The concept for ‘Behind the Scenes’, is based on the theme of a youth film-making experience. The feature was self-produced, filmed on a low budget and there was no professional support at any level; the work is an achievement of a complete student co-ordination.

It was tricky lighting for this film since, it included many night-shots. Nevertheless a simple lighting setup was used for most of the scenes with two self-made flashlight stands. For scenes in the night, since there was no generator, the crew had to use the aid of vehicle flash-lights to shoot the scenes. Few bulbs were burnt on procedure, and they had to be replaced incurring a lot of excess costs.

Editing for this film was done using a desktop computer and the use of very basic editing software. Since, the crew didn’t possess any editing equipment in hand; the work took more than a week in the making with a few computer break-ups and repairs on the way. Behind the scenes is the first feature film produced by The Unlimited Entertainment.

Birth of a director

Born in Piliyandala, Lakpathy Wijesekara had a keen interest in the performing arts since childhood. He developed his interest in the camera through his participation in the children’s play “Sellam Gedara” and “Kopi Kade” of the Independence Television Network. He produced his first short film when he was in grade six. He has produced many short films which have won a number of national and international awards. He was a pioneer in establishing a culture of short films at school level in Sri Lanka.

He directed a stage drama “Kalathra Yathra” during his O/L class which was his first major direction on stage, for which he won the award for best direction of the year. He initiated a Youtube channel Le Royale (, which was a novel experience for the school community in Sri Lanka. The Le Royale team covered hundreds of events of Royal College through the Le Royale channel, the official Youtube Channel of Royal College. Lakpathy was the president of the Sinhala Literary Association of Royal College. He conceptualized the first school blog competition in Sri Lanka under his leadership in collaboration of the ICTA and Microsoft ( . He has completed his advanced levels in Arts.

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