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29th August Month 1999

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'Jayasri' releases maiden album

By Sanath Weerasuriya

'Jayasri', the long awaited maiden album of Austrian based Sri Lankan band 'Jayasri' was released in Vienna last month.

The album cassette and CD comprises sixteen original songs with different styles in English and Sinhala languages.

'Jayasri' a three member band, is now performing in Austrian, German and other European circuits.

Rohitha, Rohan and Aruna along with their school colleague Boodie (Buddhika Keerthisena) were busy during the last few months putting the final touches to the maiden album.

The music video of 'Jayasri' was directed by Boodie, himself and was recorded in Sri Lanka and in Austria.

"We have all our originals on this album 'Mod Goviya', 'Europe Indala' and some of the original tracks of our sister bands 'Con-Dom' and 'Jaya-3' such as Sinhalese Man 'Put Your Love Together' and 'UR My Sunshine' are included in this album. And also a special dedication song to our favourite legend Clarence Wijewardena is included in this Cassette/Album/CD," Rohitha said in his latest letter to TV Times last week.

"Gee Viruwanee" is the name of this special song made out of 25 titles of songs sung by Clarence.

'Also 'Jayasri' will be featured on Boodie's new film 'Milla Soya' as we are singing one of the tracks of this movie, Jayasri will feature 'Thaniwemu Api' a reggae song in this movie' he added.'

All the texts,music, arrangements of the songs were done by the three of us. Also performed and recorded at our own 'JAYASRI Power Pot' Studio in Vienna and in Christian F 'Hook line' Studios.

'Jayasri' have used the latest Digital Systems like Pro tools, Cubase for recording and mastering, their new album.

"We want to categorize our music as 'World music', because it has got Oriental, Ethno, Reggae, Latin, Dance floor elements from round the globe. Also our own 'Jayasrimuffin' and Baila. We want to hit not only with music, but with lyrics and messages too.

We have lot of messages in our music. Their song 'Mod 'Goviya' is now on air in Sri Lanka.

'Jayasri' have now started their work on their second Album and are planning a few 'live' concerts around Europe to support their maiden album.

Talent contest moves on

By Sanath Weerasuriya

Third and the last Preliminary round of 'TV Times Talent Contest Search 2000' was held at the 'Sigiriya Hall' of the Airport Garden Hotel, the 'Host Hotel of the Contest', on August 15.

Twelve, contestants from 'Senior Vocal' section and five from 'Junior Vocal' section were eligible to enter the semi- finals.

Also six 'instrumentalists' and four groups on vocals.

Ninety contestants performed at this last preliminary round of 'TV Times Talent Contest Search 2000' which was organized by Sohan Dissanayake Entertainment Unit.

This event was organised by George Weerakoon, the producer and the senior partner of the Entertainment Unit and it was inaugurated by Vernon Dabare, Managing Director of Clasp Print & Graphics (Pvt.) Ltd., as Chief Guest.

Among the distinguished guests were M. Ismeth of The Sunday Times, Indika Salgado the Sales Executive of Airport Garden Hotel, Sunethra Perera the principal of Sue School of Dancing, Malcolm Perera, Manager of Dream Team, Dr. Isha Gunathilaka, Jerome Francisco the leader of the band "Worlds End" and Nishantha Perera the Committee President.

Sixty contestants, who are eligible to enter the next round will take part at the first 'Semi-Finals' on September 5 at the Airport Garden Hotel.

The Dream Team will be in action at the first 'Semi-Final' to select the first batch of finalists.

The following have qualified for the Semi-Finals from the third preliminary round which was held on August, 15.

Instrumental section - Ashendra Liyanage, Nilma Dole, Venura Jayakody, Eroshini Silva, Sachitra Ibrahim, and Lakmal Ruparatna. Vocal Junior section - Tharini Gunawardana, Rajiv Pon-weera, Krishan Joel Dev-asagayam, Thushara Kulatunga and Ruchira Sankajaya Pathirana.

Group Vocals section comprises four groups.

They are Dilan David/ Suneth Shanka and Chanaka Samarasinghe, Ruth Amirthiah/ Ranil Amirthiah, Sajeeva Maduranga/ Lakal Bul-athsinghala/ Boditha Souis Group and Sam Korala/ Kishani Waidyasekara.

The Senior vocalists are Palitha Liyanage, Sachintha Adikaram, Ruth Amirthiah, Marlon Seneviratne, Chanka Samarasinghe, Dinesh Fer-nando, Ranil Amirthiah, Lewie Diaz, Shannon Ashborn, Rajitha Edirisinghe, Dylan Jude Welikala and Jerome Perera.

Another Lanka-Australia venture in offing

By Kumaradasa Wagista

Producers of the first Sri Lanka-Australia co-production are contemplating another film in Australia after the release of 'Mandakini'. (The Milky Way). The world premiere of this film has already been held in Sydney under the patronage of Australian VIP's and aborigines at Greater Union Theatre last March. As this theatre has a large number of cinema halls in many cities in Australia co-producer ImageKithsiri Karunaratna, while he was in Sri Lanka some time ago was hopeful of the film being screened all over Australia and even in New Zealand.

A copy of the film has been released in Melbourne also.

"We are hopeful of screening this film in many parts of the world with the help of Sri Lanka Associations in almost every city where our expatriates are working." director H.D.Premaratne said. "As the film has cost a colossal sum foreign releases are necessary for us to be out of woods" he added. Premaratne is confident of a world release of the film as it discusses the plight of aborigines which is now common to many countries. He considers it as a scoring point to sell the film to foreign buyers.

Although the film has been selected for released in the fifth circuit the circuit system is to be abolished according to the reforms that are taking shape at the National Film Corporation.

'Mandakini ' is based on a story idea given by Benedict Dodampegama and the screenplay is written by H.D.Premaratne. Several Australian aborigines play in this film. Sabita Perera, Ravindra Randeniya, Asoka Peiris, Pradeep Senanayake play the main roles in it.

Teertha Yatra

Taprobane Films ' Teertha Yatra ' (The Pilgrimage ) is scheduled to be screened after 'Surangana Yahana'. Vasantha Obeysekera has written and directed it.

It's the story of a young woman going in search of her biological parents. She succeeds in her mission. But finally she realises there is nothing belonging to one to claim ownership. It's the individual relationship among which is more important than the biological relationship. You do not possess or own anything in life and it's the teaching of religious teachers.

"In keeping to the theme of my story I call it ' The Pilgrimage'. Life itself is nothing but a pilgrimage" Vasantha Obeysekera said.

The film is to be sub titled in English for foreign screenings.

This role is played by Yasodha Wimaladharma, while Channa Perera acts opposite her. Joe Abeywickrema, Ravindra Randeniya, Veena Jayakody and many other artistes are in the cast.

Chandran Rutnam and Asoka Perera produced this film.

Tissa opts not to do films

Film Corporation Chairman Tissa Abeysekera says as long as he works as Chairman,he would not engage himself in films as the regulations preclude him from doing so

He is planning to revamp the institution so that it could serve the industry better.

A project costing nearly Rs 80 million is to be launched to help 10 film directors . Five reputed filmmakers and five who have shown their colours as teledrama directors would be given financial backing to do films.

The Corporation also will oversee the distribution of films.

"NFC will break away from the distribution monopoly, steps will be taken to establish three camera units, comprising lighting equipment, grip equipment and a generator. Setting up two sound departments commissioned in a newly constructed modern film studio, the place of which is yet undecided, Mr Abeysekera said.

NFC will encourage foreign filmmakers to choose in Sri Lanka as a location to film their productions.

A scheme is contemplated to produce films for both theatre screening and broadcast television, a popular media now practiced in advanced countries.

"The infrastructure for film production has suffered in the last two decades. Corporation studio at Dalugama has only one movie camera worth mentioning and the lighting equipment is mostly outdated while sound facilities are primitive" Mr Abeysekera said.

Seminars and workshops would be organised to enhance the interest in films

A separate circuit will be named for the release of quality films both foreign and local.

Setting up a Film Publications Bureau, the publication of a film journal, translating and publishing standard books pertaining to cinema in Sinhala and Tamil, establishing a Film Centre which will be the forerunner to the proposed film institute are also on the drawing board.Renowned filmmaker Lester James Peries will head the committee on the proposed film archives.

Futility of war on mini screen

A telefilm made by a young filmmaker Inoka Sathyanganie Mahadivulwewa has won international accolades from two festivals for her telefilm (video) 'Nonagathayaka Nimawa'.

This telefilm has been produced by Sudath Mahadivulwewa.

' Nonagathayaka Nimawa' (End of an Inauspicious Time - 40 minute) has been selected for the final rounds in the Earth Vision - '98 - Global Environmental Film Festival. It has also being chosen to represent Asia at the DEC International Video Film Festival.

For ages the Sinhalese and Hindus celebrate their traditional New Year which falls in mid April every year. It's a time of joy and enjoyment as well as practicing traditional customs so that the future generation may go ahead with them.It is preceded by a period called Nonagathaya - an inauspicious time, where the simplest way to avoid bad luck is to do nothing and be involved in religious activities.

Mahadivulwewa's story centres on an old Sinhala mother living in a remote village anxiously awaiting the arrival of her son from the battlefield.

Vishva is a young Tamil who finds himself stranded in the village during Nonagethaya time, where the streets are empty and shops closed to avoid ill omens.

On the look out for the arrival of her son the old woman gives accommodation to this man extends hospitality and keeps on talking to him.

On his way home next morning Vishva inquires details of the benefactor at the railway station and is shocked to find out that this old woman's son has been killed in action but she still awaits his return.The moral is stubborn but clear that there are no winners in war.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa Libraries has informed the producers of their intention of purchasing a copy of this telefilm to be kept in their library.

'Nonagathayaka Nimawa' won the best director and best single episode teledrama at OCIC and Sumathi Video Festivals also.

Ruwan Costa has handled the camera and is edited by Ravindra Guruge. Art direction is by Mohan Adams. Upul Mahanama is make- up artiste.

W. Jayasiri, Chandra Kaluarachchi and Malcolm Machado are among the stars.

Tribute to Lanka

The People's Bank has produced a 40 minute documentary titled' The Sun and The Moonstone' to mark Sri Lanka's 50th Independence anniversary. It is directed by Tissa Abeysekere and the production work has been done in a laboratory in Germany.

Pointing at a highlight in the film People's Bank sources said" this film avoids the conventional touristic approach and attempts to take the viewer beyond the surface and into the inner essence of Sri Lanka, its people and their way of life" The film has been under production for about 10 months

The project has been done on a proposal made by People's Bank Chairman Gamini Fernando." Art and culture are as vital to life as food, clothing and shelter," he added.

Two young tele directors

There is a crying need of young new talent in film and teledrama direction. Film Corporation Chairman Tissa Abeysakera recently stressed the lack of talent in the industry and said steps would be taken to remedy the situation..

Today we feature two upcoming teledrama directors. One of them is actor and drama producer Susil Gunaratna The other is Deepthi Wijetunge.

Susil who has completed work in his debut teleserial venture 'Paravi Dhenuwa', is a journalist,. an actor and a drama producer. He presents a story of a peculiar middle aged businessman named Kalinga (Sriyantha Mendis). Kalinga a man who cannot be fathomed lives in a mansion. He marries a beautiful woman named Jinadari (Deepika Sandanayaka). She resides with Kalinga in his house after Imagemarriage. Kalinga is suspicious of her movements. She is not allowed even to look at another man. His mysticism is such that he leaves the house on business tours after locking all doors in the house.

When he hears that she was seen peeping through the windows of the house, he goes to the extern of shutting the windows and sealing them.

The reason for Kalinga to act so is an incident he had seen as a boy, which flashes in his mind from time to time. It's an incident between his mother and her paramour. Finally Jinadiri manages to reform her husband. The script is written by Edwin Peiris.

Deepthi has worked in several teleserials as an assistant director. He has also passed out in the Rupavahini Course held by SLTTI and holds a Mass Media Diploma from the Open University and also holds a Bachelor of Labour Education degree (BLE). He is a journalist and a cameraman.

His maiden teleserial is 'Varana Kambili' presently telecast on National Rupavahini. It is recorded in the past there was a set of people known as 'Kambili'. These people were so named because they were double tongued, they spoke one thing and acted in the opposite way.As they wore multi - coloured clothing they were called 'Varna Kambili'.

The story deals with a two-faced society. It rotates around a villager who makes a fortune by going to the metropolis. He comes back to the village and opens up a factory. The conflict starts after the factory starts operations. Lalith (Sriyantha Mendis) plays the role opposite Damayanthie (Damitha Abeyratna).

'Varana Kambili' script is written by K.B.Herath and runs into 14 episodes.

Deepthi hails from Heraliyawela in Kurunegala and was educated at Angangala Siddhartha MV. He passed the A/Level examination and joined Wayamba Lanka Chayarupa Kala Sangamaya where he studied still photography which helped him to be a newspaper correspondent.

He is thankful to 'Varana Kambili' director G.Nandasena for giving him a break to direct this teleserial. It was cinematographer Andrew Jayamanne who first gave me a break to work as an assistant director in some of his teleserials and films for which he is grateful. He is also thankful to Sampath Palitha de Sarem the producer of this teleserial.

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