A Sri Lankan Tamil feature film has won the jury award at the 52nd International Film Festival (IFFR) of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The world premiere of ‘Munnel’, written, directed and produced by Visakesa Chandrasekaram, was held on January 28 at Pathe IMAX cinema, followed by a second screening on January 29.

Dedicating the premiere screening for two political prisoners, Visakesa told the audience: “By coming to watch this movie, you are not simply indulging in an act of entertainment; rather you are participating in the world democracy, because you will share our story with many others and demand justice and democracy for our people”.

The film’s synopsis is Rudran, an ex-Tamil militant returns home from military detention, looking for his lover Vaani who had disappeared during the war, and joins a month-long pilgrimage hoping to unite with his lover.

One of the two Jury Awards was given to 'Munnel', and the Jury noted that Munnel is “a great simple story about a young man caught between revolution and authoritarianism.”

Accepting the Award and 10,000 Euro cash price, Visakesa said: “By sharing stories with words, lights, sounds and colours, we are in fact exercising our freedom of expression … Without democracy, we can’t exercise our freedom of expression, and without freedom of expression we can’t make films at our free will”.

'Munnel' is probably the first home-grown Tamil film of which most of the cast and crew members came from the Tamil speaking North and East.

Jagath Manuwarna’s Sinhala language feature film ‘Rahas Kiyana Kandu’ was also premiered in the festival, and the film won the NETPAC award.


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