News & Interviews

Tales from an Ancient Land

Interview about “Wild Sri Lanka – Realm of the Leopard” on Channel Eye – Rupavahini (September, 2019). The documentary is the first independent wildlife film production to be acquired by an international TV Channel. The film was broadcast on Discovery (Asia) channel, Animal Planet and VIASAT (Nature). Distributed by Earth Touch UK. This wildlife film depicts the life style of the Sri Lankan leopard, a subspecies unique to Sri Lanka, and highlights the potential hazards and environmental threats they face in the wild which spans over 50 minutes, captures breathtaking visuals of Sri Lanka’s natural beauty and wildlife.

Award Winning Screenwriter Thivanka Perera … shared his experience with his maiden success of ‘Silent Letter’ during an interview with “Asian Mirror”  [Sep 4, 2017 ] “Hollywood does not get much stories from Sri Lanka” he added. Hence the cultural elements are not recognized often. peaking about his award winning production, he said that he had developed the story since he spent school vacations at his mother’s home town. The story is based on a young boy who is barred by social barriers from reaching his freedom.

Video segment about “Wild Sri Lanka – Realm of the Leopard” on ‘Pulse’, a premiere social media channel in Sri Lanka (September, 2019). This 45-minute-long film documented the behavioural characteristics and ecology of the Sri Lankan leopard – the central narrative of the film. It evinces variety by showcasing subspecies found within the ecosystem to which this majestic beast belongs, and the deer, monkeys, and water buffalos are some others to name a few. Commenting further, Perera said: “We didn’t stay in the forest and film for 10 days at a stretch. We spoke with people around and filmed during the seasons these animals were frequently seen.”

“I wanted to master writing as my passion is writing”, said the young screenwriter. A graduate of Academy of Art University, San Francisco, USA, with a major in screenwriting, Thivanka described how the structured system can effect script writing. “If you need more freedom, think outside of Hollywood”, he mentioned.

“Hollywood does not get much stories from Sri Lanka” he added. Hence the cultural elements are not recognized often. Thivanka shared that even though many westerners had difficulties in recognizing Sri Lankan rooted characters in ‘Silent Letter’ due to cultural difference at first but now it has been adopted as a teaching material at his own university.

Speaking about his award winning production, he said that he had developed the story since he spent school vacations at his mother’s home town. The story is based on a young boy who is barred by social barriers from reaching his freedom. The film is yet to be screened for Sri Lankan audience and is curious about how they will react to the film in contrast the western audience.

Taking Sri Lanka to greater heights in terms of documenting wildlife is Wild Sri Lanka: Realm of the Leopard directed by Thivanka Rukshan Perera and his team at Aegle Creations. The documentary will be aired this month from 22-29 August on Discovery Asia, making this Sri Lanka’s debut appearance on the channel. Speaking to The Sunday Morning Brunch this week are Director Thivanka Rukshan Perera with an initial background of producing scripts for two short films, harnessed an interest in the creation of wildlife documentaries subsequently, and “before this production, I made a lot of documentaries regarding birds, especially owls”.

This 45-minute-long film documented the behavioural characteristics and ecology of the Sri Lankan leopard – the central narrative of the film. It evinces variety by showcasing subspecies found within the ecosystem to which this majestic beast belongs, and the deer, monkeys, and water buffalos are some others to name a few. Commenting further, Perera said: “We didn’t stay in the forest and film for 10 days at a stretch. We spoke with people around and filmed during the seasons these animals were frequently seen.”

A Sri Lankan documentary “Wild Sri Lanka – Realm of the Leopard” premiered in France on Ushuaia TV as part of their series of programs to commemorate World Environment Day on June 5th. The documentary film, produced by local production company Aegle Creations and directed by Thivanka Rukshan Perera, previously aired on Discovery (Asia) and Viasat Nature earlier this year. The documentary is the first local wildlife production to be broadcast on Discovery channel and the first to find international distribution. Thivanka’s next documentary “Man-Eaters: A Human Leopard Story” was also recently acquired by an international distribution company.  

– Limonero Films – Spain –

Tourism plays an important role in growing economies, sustainable development, and poverty alleviation in a country like Sri Lanka. While nature-based tourism, which includes wildlife tourism, has been expanding rapidly in the last decade or so due to increased demand and opportunities, wildlife and biodiversity are increasingly threatened by habitat loss, poaching, and a lack of funding for protection. Thivanka is very much concerned about the irresistible imbalance with too many tourists in some places, and none elsewhere. He says ‘It is hard to believe why some destinations face gross overcrowding’. We need to be able to distribute this demand for everyone by clearly imposing the Nature and wildlife without disturbing the eco system while protecting the most valuable forests in the country. Thivanka plans to continue in the field of documentary Film making as his carrier, and has already negotiated with several international organizations and broadcasters to promote Sri Lanka Wildlife and Nature via high tech Documentary Films of international Calibre, while giving priority to the most concerned challenge of conservation.

Social discourses is a seldom topic in feature movies. It is a rare opportunity that a short film trying to explore social issues. Thivanka Rukshan Perera’s “Silent Letter” is such unique attempt. The film is centered on a poor, low-caste boy from a rural village in Sri Lanka, attempts to escape to the city with terrible consequences. Earlier this month “Silent Letter” bagged several awards including Best Short Film (Debut) award at Whatashort Independent International Film Festival (WIIFF).

This was not the first time that ‘Silent Letter’ has made it to the spotlight. It was picked for distribution by ‘Shorts International’ and was broadcast in USA this year. It also clinched a certificate of excellence at the Fifth Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival in Mumbai, India, last year. Thivanka admires American filmmaker Sam Peckinpah’s westerns. He has a special liking for Indian short films as he says that they have great storylines.

His pen spelt success. Young screenwriter Thivanka Rukshan Perera’s ‘Silent Letter’ won the Best Short Film (debut) award at the Whatashort Independent International Film Festival held in New Delhi, India, last month. He won the award for his work out of over 400 entries from 34 countries.

This was not the first time that ‘Silent Letter’ has made it to the spotlight. It was picked for distribution by ‘Shorts International’ and was broadcast in USA this year. It also clinched a certificate of excellence at the Fifth Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival in Mumbai, India, last year.

Thivanka admires American filmmaker Sam Peckinpah’s westerns. He has a special liking for Indian short films as he says that they have great storylines. He had just finished penning another short film script which centers on a cobbler’s son. The project is titled ‘Cobbler’s Son Wears No Shoes’ and he is looking for a director to make the short film. The story is about a cobbler who tries to keep the memory of his wife alive by making his son wear the same pair of shoes without mending or buying a new pair for him.

“Cobbler’s Dream” is newest short film by the Award Winning Screenwriter Thivanka Perera. It unveils the story of a poor, widowed cobbler who tries to keep the memory of his wife alive under testing circumstances. Written by Thivanka R. Perera. Stories about characters attempting to move on from a difficult experience or time in their life are commonly compelling. Most likely because they act as a potentially dramatic setting whereby a rebirth or collapse are imminent.

“Cobbler’s Dream” is picked up for distribution by ‘Shorts International’ in Europe, Middle East and Asia. It is to be presented at several film festivals run first and will be released next year. Already making the buzz, the film was reviewed by UK Film Review and was called “beautifully shot fable about the impermanence of life”.