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First-ever Children’s Film Camp 2009 to be held in Bandaragama

In August, the Galle Film Festival will launch the country’s first-ever Children’s Film Camp 2009 in partnership with the American Embassy in Sri Lanka. The camp will be led by Constance Tillotson, a well-known Hollywood acting coach with Sri Lankan film makers Anoma Rajakaruna and Kasinathar Gnanadas in Sinhala and Tamil mediums, respectively.

Fifty per cent of Sri Lanka’s population comprises a growing and ambitious youth. The residential film camp, which will be held at Sarvodaya Educational Center in Bandaragama, is designed to benefit children from all over the country. The primary focus of this camp is to unite children of different geographical, social, cultural, ethnic and religious who have been affected by the civil war for most of their childhood.

The Galle Film Festival and the American Embassy are bringing these children together in an entertaining, creative and educative environment, to help them discover how to communicate their feelings artistically, using film as a medium - a positive form of self expression. The partners hope the camp will help children understand how to put aside their differences to learn about themselves, and most importantly, from one other.

The camp will take place over a period of 10 days, bringing together 40 children from Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Moneragala, Hambantota, Matara, Galle, Puttalam, Hatton, Bandarawela, Anuradhapura and Jaffna. The children will be working closely with Constance Tillotson, Anoma Rajakaruna and Kasinathar Gnanadas, who will lead workshops on various aspects of film making. This includes acting, story telling, writing, directing, videography, lighting and editing.

Most of these children have never travelled outside of their villages, so as part of the program they will be taken on a cultural tour of Colombo, visits to the MTV studios and the university of Moratuwa. This will give them a hands-on experience of the local film and television industry. They will be chaperoned by tri-lingual volunteers and will be provided with all the necessary facilities throughout the camp.

The final goal of this unique program is for the children to create their own short films based on the skills they will have acquired over the 10 days. At the end of the camp, their films will be given a special ‘Red Carpet’ screening at the Punchi Theatre, as well as premiere screening at the Galle Film Festival in October and island- wide broadcast on MTV, Sirasa and Shakthi TV.

This camp has been made possible by the Galle Film Festival and numerous partners including the American Embassy, Room to Read, the Maharaja Group, Cason Rent A Car, Gateway, APS, Galle Face Hotel, Deccan Air, Abbas Esufally, David Gilmour and Dr. Anula Jayasuriya, giving children hope for a better tomorrow.

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