- ‘Maariya’, ‘Forward Drive’, and ‘The Outcast’ make it to Hanoi Film Festival
The Hanoi International Film Festival (HANIFF) is currently taking place in the capital of Vietnam, and two Sri Lankan productions are among those competing for the Best Feature Film and Best Short Film awards, while another will be screened during the festival.
Forward Drive and The Outcast are two short films that made it to the Hanoi International Film Festival. Both are by Anomaa Rajakaruna, who said in a Facebook post: “Forward Drive will compete in the International Short Film Competition of HANIFF VI, and The Outcast will be screened at the World Panorama. These two short films are from a series of short films on the LGBT+ community in Sri Lanka, and themed ‘Somewhere in Sri Lanka…’”
Forward Drive is a 2021 movie directed by Anomaa Rajakruna and written by Kaushalya Pathirana. Sameera Weerasekera is credited as the cinematographer, while the music is by Chinthaka Jayakody. The cast includes Poojana Dandeniya, Pasan Ranaweera, Samanalee Fonseka, Narada Bakmeewewa, Suranga Ranawaka, and Imitha Jayakody.
The film is about a well-known cricketer whose sexual orientation becomes a hot topic on social media, after which he tries to isolate from his teammates, friends, and family. He becomes suspicious of his partner, and a popular singer who lives next door tries to reconcile them.
The Outcast, starring Rasiah Dhanarajh, Navayuga Kugarajah, Julieana Johnphilip, S. Ragaventhan, S. Usanthan, S. Mathusan, and U. Jathusan, is about an actor who plays the female lead in traditional “koottu” theatre in Northern Sri Lanka. He shares his life story with a female documentary filmmaker, who offers to help him find a transit home as a way of escape after realising the difficulties he faces in life.
The Outcast is also directed by Anomaa Rajakaruna, who holds an MA from the University of Kelaniya. She is a self-taught photographer and has exhibited her photographic work in solo and group exhibitions locally and internationally. She uses different mediums like poetry, film and photography to express herself.
Under the feature film category is Maariya, which follows Willie, Bennet, Anthony, Osca, Daiya, and Tenny, a group of fishermen engaged in their vocation in the mid-seas. They suddenly bump into Malan, who had stealthily hidden in their fishing trawler with the sole intention of illegally migrating to Australia by boat.
The 2022 movie is produced by Indrajith Silva. The cast includes Mahendra Perera, Hemal Ranasinghe, Dharshen Dharmaraj, Ashan Dias, Priyantha Sirikumara, Dasun Pathirana, and Suran Dasanayaka.
Maariya is directed and written by Aruna Jayawardana, who boasts 20 years of experience as a television producer and programmes manager, serving in two leading television channels in Sri Lanka. In 2011, he directed his maiden feature film Nikini Wessa, which earned him many local and international accolades.
About the film festival
The Hanoi International Film Festival is being held for the sixth time, and is taking place from 8 to 12 November. The festival was put on hold for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and is being held in 2022 under the theme “Cinema for Humanities, Adaptability, and Development”.
A total of 123 films from 56 countries and territories with diverse genres and topics, and unique techniques will be screened at the film festival.
“It is my strong belief that with the meticulous preparation of the Organising Committee in collaboration with Hanoi People’s Committee, relevant ministries and agencies, especially the presence of film crews, artists, local and international guests, the sixth Hanoi International Film Festival 2022 will achieve great success, contributing to honouring new creative talents of the Vietnam and international film industry,” said Vietnam’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung.