The International Film Festival Picturing Reconciliation organized by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) is to be held in kanthaley, Trinco on the 15th and 16th of May from 3 to 7 pm
Annual report 2009-2012 document in pdf
Dialogues on state, society and ethical existence
30th , 31st May & 1st of June, 2013
(PLEASE NOTE THAT THE DATES HAVE BEEN CHANGED, FROM THE EARLIER 15th, 16th and 17th May 2013)
Call for papers, innovative narratives and panels, and short documentaries
The International Film Festival Picturing Reconciliation organized by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) took place from the 24th-26th January at the Punchi Theatre, Borella.
It featured twelve local and international documentary films. The festival featured discussions on films by eminent personalities. Mr Gamini Viyangoda, Vidharshana Kannangara and Chulananda Samaranayake headed an interesting and lively conversation about the relevance of the films given the current context of the country.
The discussion saw different views on matters dealing with post war situations. While some spoke of putting the past behind us and moving forward, others expressed the idea of learning from bitter memories and finding solutions to solve the root cause of certain fundamental problems.
Learning from the films, people attempted to relate it to the current context of the country. The film Enemies of the People showcased the leadership of Polpot and his regime. As noted by a participant in the discussion; as Polpot glorified history and legitimized violence, a reflection of this can be seen in the Sri Lankan context where some believe a return to a glorious past is the solution to problems the nation faces.
The movie The Redemption of General Butt Naked is a story of a mass killer redeeming himself by asking individually for forgiveness. The audience, at the discussion of this film raised the questions of the potential severe weaknesses of the individual approach of seeking forgiveness. The need for action and reaction as a community was stressed.
Language policy, the change in the medium of the national anthem and devolution of power were among the main features of the discussions.
Making a point about the lesser number of audience in attendance for the film festival, a discussant noted that, less audience expresses a sense of little desire to achieve reconciliation among the people from the South. This could be due to the current ideology in the country is not emphasizing on the need for a reconciled society. Showing that the problem is over with the defeat of the enemy.
This point was proven by another of the audience when she made a remark about the situation of the country. She noted that we need not talk about results of the war. She expressed the opinion that people should forget such things and must concentrate on what we can done in relation to economic grievances.
Many discussants disagreed with this idea that looked at the problem in a simplistic one dimensional manner. They emphasized on the need of the proper implemented language policy which will help them to work in their language and also the emphasized the importance of singing the national anthem in Tamil as well.
There were heated arguments on this topic and then they raised the importance of giving a holistic political solution for the ethnic problem. They emphasized the responsibility of the government in terms of finding a solution. When the war was going on, everyone said that to find a solution, the war has to be ended. Saying that the problem could be solved by only addressing the economic issues , is a strong feature in the ideology of the current regime. The people of the North will not come to a point of reconciliation unless they are given a solution for their actual grievances which are not being addressed.
In discussing the responsibility of the civil society in this regard, a discussant said that “Unfortunately the radical people who work for Tamil people are not capable of communicating in Tamil. I see it as a huge tragedy in the country we face. This inability questions their own interest in their own work”.
Further the audience discussed the extent of political will in addressing real issues of the country. They further addressed the extent of art as a media to address such crucial issues.
Colombo, Galle, Kandy and Jaffna
‘Picturing Reconciliation’ was screened in four cities during 2012. Screenings were held in Colombo (17th, 18th and 19th of September), Kandy(7th,08th and 9th of October), Mathara (7th, 8th and 9th of November) and Jaffna (23rd, 24th and 25th of November). The film festival brought together a collection of documentary films from across the world on the theme of reconciliation. Moderated discussions were conducted in Galle and Jaffna after the screening of each film.
The festival consisted of the following films:
Iraq in fragments: An Academy and Sundance festival award winning documentary that presents a poetic, intimate portrayal of the daily lives of people from different communities in war-ravaged Iraq.
The Redemption of General Butt-Naked: An achingly honest account of a Liberian warlord turned Christian evangelist that asks its viewers to confront the difficult question of forgiveness and redemption
Kerosene: A critically acclaimed portrait of resilience and human ingenuity in North and East Sri Lanka in the mid-1990’s; a time of acute austerity for those affected by the government’s embargoes on medicine, food and fuel.
Pray the Devil Back to Hell: Pray the Devil Back to Hell chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country.
Enemies of the People- In Cambodia, the men and women who perpetrated massacres, from the foot-soldiers who slit throats, to the party’s ideological leader, Nuon Chea aka Brother Number Two, break a 30-year silence to give testimony never before heard or seen.
Rajeswari- This is an emotional account of a life lived in the shadow of fear and to the sound of gunfire. This documentary focuses on the war-time experiences of Rajeswari, a Tamil woman in Batticaloa,
Potential for Solidarity- The end of war has created new avenues for collective action across Sri Lanka. The Potential for Solidarity examines instances of successful North-South collaboration in Sri Lanka’s fisheries.
‘Picturing Reconciliation’ will be screened once more Colombo on the last week of January 2013 and in Batticaloa on third week of January 2013.
Malabar Secrets : South Indian Muslim Men’s Sociality Across the Indian Ocean
Lecture held on Friday, November 23, 2012
Dr. Filippo Osella
Monday 3rd December 2012 at 4.30 pm
2 Kynsey Terrace
Feroze Kamardeen and his Cast will perform “Widows” and engage in a Discussion on their interpretation of the plot, the characters, and the play ‘s relevance to post war societies.
Showing at the E.L. Senanayake Children’s Library Auditorium,
Kotugodella Veediya, Kandy
7th, 8th, 9th, October 2012
To download the Kandy schedule click here (07th-09th September) click Here
A former Liberian General traverses the country seeking forgiveness; Palestinians and Israelis come together to stop violence; a Cambodian film-maker persuades a Khmer Rouge leader to talk about his mass killings; descendents of whites responsible for expelling Blacks from Southern USA and descendents of those blacks revisit their past a 100 years later; a Muslim lecturer translates a book that explores the influence of Tamil on Sinhala…. ‘Reconciliation’ is on everyone’s lips in Sri Lanka today but there is little agreement on its meaning. Is it healing? Accountability? Forgiving and forgetting? National unity? Stability? Harmony? Development? Inclusive democracy? Is it all of these and more? Is it just moving on?
The fourteen international and local films brought together in this festival will explore what peace and reconciliation means while celebrating the power of individual and collective efforts and dialogue to bridge differences.
Our Discussion Panal for these screenings will include: Dr. Liyanage Amarakeerthi, Vidarshana Kannangara and Dr. Harshana Rambukwella
National Convention on Saving State Education
Today, the state education sector is facing many serious challenges: drastic funding cuts, unprecedented political interference and ad-hoc policy interventions at all levels is seriously affecting the ability of the state education sector to provide a high quality educational service to Sri Lankan citizens. For a country such as Sri Lanka, with a proud heritage of a strong educational sector and a culture of high educational aspirations and achievements this deterioration of the state education sector is a singular tragedy.
The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations is organizing a National Convention on the theme ‘Save State Education’ in order to facilitate a discussion towards addressing some of the concerns with regard to the state of the education sector. The convention hopes to obtain some consensus on how Sri Lankan society can move forward together to protect one of the pillars of Sri Lanka’s national heritage: a free and high quality state education sector.
Date: 17th August 2012
Venue: Western Province Aesthetic Centre, 275/74, Prof. Stanley Wijesundera, Mw., Col.-7
Time: 10.00 am to 1.00 pm
Contact Mr. Senevirathne Peellage (0717650563) in order to confirm your participation