Vimukthi Jayasundara | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 03, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 03, 2016

Vimukthi Jayasundara

Vimukthi Jayasundara is an award-winning Sri Lankan film director, screenwriter and visual artist. He joined the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune, and after returning to Sri Lanka, began working on his first film, “The Land of Silence”, a production that took 3 years to complete. The film was a documentary in black and white about the victims of the Sri Lankan civil war and was made using cinematographic gear from the 1960's and intermixed with sporadic dialogues deliberately not translated but communicated by a background commentary. “The Land of Silence” strips away the glory of war and puts a monochrome microscope on soldiers knocked into a routine and tedious existence half the people they were before putting on the uniform. The documentary was nominated by several festivals including Marseilles, Rotterdam and Berlin.

Following “The Land of Silence”, Vimukthi received a scholarship at Le Fresnoy-Studio National des Arts from the French Government and the Sri Lanka National Film Corporation on the recommendation of Dr. Lester James Peiris and Dr. Tissa Abeysekera. At the Le Fresnoy he studied under Tasi Ming Liang, Jean Marie-Straub, Jean Luc-Godard and Eugene Greene. Following his time at Fresnoy, he directed a short film “Empty for Love” which was shot in France and Sri Lanka. The film was produced by Lefresnoy and it was officially selected at the Cannes film festival in 2003 and won the Best Director Award at the Novo Mesto International Short Film festival in Slovenia in 2003 at the same year he became a resident at the Cinéfondation of the Cannes Film Festival.

His first feature, “The Forsaken Land” won the Caméra d'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, marking him as the only Sri Lankan to win the award. He followed this with “Between Two Worlds” which got nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival 2009. Vimukthi's third feature, “Mushrooms” was shot in India and went on to be selected for the Director's Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival 2011. In 2012, the Jeonju International Film Festival invited him as one of three international film directors to produce a film for the Jeonju Digital Project 2012 for which he made “Light in Yellow Breathing Space”.

Vimukthi Jayasundara is also one of the co-founders of a new production and distribution company, Film Island, which aims to bring international productions to Sri Lanka.

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