- UCM to shoot latest film on Sri Lanka’s East Coast
Our island, with its magnificent mountains, pristine beaches, and everything in between, has a lot to offer to any foriegn market. The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau recently began focusing on film tourism, and has warmly welcomed Israeli film production house United Channel Movies (UCM) to Sri Lanka to shoot their latest feature film Arugam Bay on the East Coast of Sri Lanka.
The filming will take place from 3-22 May, at various locations in Colombo, Ella, and Arugam Bay, as well as in Tel Aviv, Israel, with Arugam Bay obviously in the spotlight. Once complete, Arugam Bay is expected to be screened in Israel and over 50 countries across Europe.
Brunch had the pleasure to speak with Director Marco Camal, who has been travelling to Sri Lanka for over 15 years and treats it like his second home. Camal told us that the current situation facing Sri Lanka did not stop his return to the island nor the undertaking of this film, saying: “We are happy to be back in Sri Lanka and I’m confident this film Arugam Bay will gain great success.”
Giving us some insight into what to expect from the film, he shared that the story of the film is about a young Israeli group travelling to Sri Lanka to surf and to experience the life and culture in the country as well.
“The film talks about the warm hospitality of Sri Lankan and the genuine love and care offered to foreigners in general,” Camal told us, adding that he incorporated his personal feelings towards our island as well.
Since the movie focuses mostly on a group of boys exploring all the wonders that the eastern coast of our island has to offer, Camal told us that he also made the female characters in the film incredibly strong and powerful women with their own story to tell. Camal told us that in Israel, not many films highlight femininity, or women in movies, so he took matters into his own hand with Arugam Bay.
“The main female lead will be played by a renowned Israeli actress, whose character will be compelling and have a strong voice throughout,” he informed us, revealing just a little more on what we can expect to see.
While he was visiting the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, Camal told us he conversed with many locals and beach boys, who shared their stories and spoke of grand adventures that took place in A-Bay, as it is fondly called. He committed the memorables ones to mind and recalled them when putting together the script of the film. He added that he insisted the script be written in Sri Lanka, so both the scriptwriter and himself could be inspired by the beauty that surrounded them when putting their feelings to paper.
While creating a promotional campaign for Sri Lanka as an ideal vacation destination, the film Arugam Bay will highlight the Eastern Province – where it will be filmed – as an unforgettable beach destination with many adventure and leisure activities that one can experience. Camal added that this filming project expects to generate foreign revenue for the country’s economy.
During the discussion of the film, we spoke to Sri Lanka-based international film production company Frames TV & Film Productions’ Producer and Director Shyaman Premasundara, who told us that the company will be joining hands with UCM Productions, the Israel Film Commission, and Sri Lanka Tourism to produce this film in Sri Lanka.
“I have met the representatives of UCM at the joint-destination promotion undertaken in the UK together with Sri Lanka Tourism and a group of established international film producers in Sri Lanka,” he explained on how the film came to be, adding that they eventually managed to bring this film to Sri Lanka and name it Arugam Bay.
Explaining why Arugam Bay was chosen as the focal point of this film, Camal explained that it is considered to be a surfers haven in Israel.
“Many young Israelis go to Sri Lanka just to go to Arugam Bay and surf – I myself have come to Sri Lanka several times just to hit the waves in gorgeous Arugam Bay.”
Premasundara believes that this is a great opportunity for the Sri Lankan international film industry, as well as for the inbound film tourism industry as the popularity generated via this film will help mitigate the current negative publicity towards Sri Lanka and inspire more international productions to select Sri Lanka as their preferred tropical film destination.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau supported this destination promotional film production as part of its ongoing international film tourism promotion, and expects to further promote the island as one of the leading film location destinations in South Asia.
Talking about their post-production plans, Camal told us that he has a dream of premiering the film in July, right here in Arugam Bay, once it is completed, wanting to do justice to a district he calls his second home.
“I want the locals of the East Coast to watch the movie and see how much they inspire us creators, and understand how valuable their stories are. Although it may seem like just a day in their life; they experience something very few have the opportunity to, everyday,” Camal expressed, recalling his days spent basking under the sun and cradled by the waves in Arugam Bay.