Mumbai, April 22 (Calcutta Tube) Paris-based Sri Lankan director Pradeepan Raveendran‘s film ‘Shadows of Silence‘, listed as a French entry, will be presented in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival May 12-23. Based in Paris, Raveendran makes films in Tamil and Sinhala and his ‘Shadows of Silence’ has beaten 20 Indian films — none of which were selected — to the Directors’ Fortnight.
‘Shadows of Silence’ is described as being about the ‘nightmares and realities of a depressed person in exile’. He has directed, produced and written this 11-minute fiction film himself.
Raveendran’s earlier film ‘A Mango Tree in the Front Yard’, also a French entry, was selected by the Berlin Film Festival in 2009, and nominated for a Golden Bear for best short film. It has been screened around the world, including the International Film Festival of Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York.
Set in war-ravaged Sri Lanka, ‘A Mango Tree in the Front Yard’ focuses on three children for whom even walking home from school proves dangerous. The MOMA described the film as ‘spare and haunting’. A film in Tamil, it credits the Association of French Tamil Exiles as co-producer.
Born in Jaffna, Raveendran, 29, left the island in 2004 because of the ethnic conflict, and was granted political refugee status in France in 2007. He is active with the Tamil diaspora community in Europe. He is on the editorial board of Uyirnizhal (Shadow of the Soul), a political-literary Tamil diaspora quarterly magazine.
He organised two photography exhibitions in Paris and Berlin on the theme of life in exile. His photographs highlight the lives of immigrants who struggle to survive in Paris without valid permission, avoiding attention and detention.
As for India, the Cannes festival has two official invitations. The first is for Shekhar Kapur, who has been selected on the Feature Film Jury.
The other is for director Vikramaditya Motwane, whose film ‘Udaan’ has been chosen in the official selection of the festival. Motwane’s debut feature will be screened in the Un Certain Regard (A Certain Look) section of the festival.
(Meenakshi Shedde is India Consultant to the Berlin Film Festival and curator to international festivals worldwide. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org)