The Sunday Leader

‘For A Son’ Hailed At 52nd Pesaro International Film Festival

  • Suranga Deshapriya Katugampala: lauded in italy for excellent film direction

by Nandasiri Fernando

Scene from the film ‘For a Son’

A Sri Lankan youth in Italy received a jury special mention last month at the 52nd Pesaro International Film Festival for his debut long version film ‘Putekuta’ (For a Son). Born in Negombo in Sri Lanka, Suranga Desapriya Katugampola was educated at Negombo Harischandra School. His parents migrated to Italy with him when he was at 8 of age following the majority of householders in Negombo who migrated to Italy at that time searching for green pastures.

His parents sought residency in the city of Verona in Italy where Suranga now resides. Since early childhood, Suranga showed a great liking for seeing films and to get educated about film production and its other components. But his parents wanted him to be a professional in a lucrative field where he can earn much wealth. “As any other parents, mine too wanted to make a highly paid professional out of me in a high profile business field.” So I had to fulfill their expectation though I prefer engaging full-time in film industry,” Suranga told.

When he was reading his degree in computer engineering, he used his free time, mostly night time, for studying the film industry at various cinematography institutes in Italy. After receiving his degree in computer engineering, he followed his Master Degree in Cinematography. I believe that anyone who wants to be a good film creator should learn the subjects thoroughly, therefore, I spent my free time as well my Master Degree on gaining knowledge of the film industry and its components,” Suranga said.

From then onward, Suranga has produced many short films and most of them he has presented to international film festivals. ‘Equilibrist’ – his first attempt to make a short film’ – alighted in 2011. In 2014, his short film ‘katada aithi’ (whose belonging) won an award at an international film festival. Encouraged Suranga came to Sri Lanka in 2004 to produce his first short film, but was unable to make it since he faced many obstacles in gathering resources to make it a success being a teenager of 17 years. He was highly frustrated since he did not get any support from those who were in high places in the Sri Lanka film industry at the time. Frustrated Suranga went back to Italy, but he never gave up his aspiration of being a recognized film director.

With the appreciations and awards he received for his short films, Suranga then wanted to produce a long version film. The result is his production, ‘For a Son’ that brought him global prestige at the Pesaro International Film Festival in July. His film revolves around his early childhood experiences in Sri Lanka and abroad, he said. “The emotional battle that child migrants face in foreign soils is manifold. Their parents expect them to follow the customs of Sri Lanka while they have to face and mingle with foreign culture of the country now they live with. The results are very painful and unbearable. I want to talk about these issues in depth with my film ‘For a Son’.

Suranga said that he was targeted to severe criticism in Italy for his film since it focuses on secondhand treatments being meted out with migrants in Italy. “They criticized my attempt to discuss unfair treatments that migrants receive in Italy. But I discussed only the true situation in Italy,” Suranga said. His ‘For a Son’ is the only film that was selected to screen in the competitive round of the festival. “Many films from Italy were also presented to the preliminary rounds, but mine was selected for screening at the competitive round; it is subtitled in Italy, English and Sinhala languages. As a Sri Lankan migrants, I am very proud for getting this opportunity,” he said.

The main character of the Suranga’s film, ‘Swanitha’ gets life through high profile acting of Kaushalya Fernando, an award winning film and drama actress in Sri Lanka. Suranga had come to Sri Lanka in 2014 to meet Kaushalya and had discussed with her about this character. Through this discussion, Suranga understood that Kausalya is the only actress in Sri Lanka who can give life to his heroine. She questioned me about every aspect of the character and also made valued suggestions. I felt that she has great knowledge of film industry and acting. Not only I but she also got appreciation from the Jury at the festival for her role in the film,” Suranga said.

The photographer of the film is Channa Deshapriya. Sunranga has met with many photographers in Sri Lanka before he selected Channa for his cameraman. He possesses great experience of photographing films in foreign soils. Therefore, I selected him for my film and he did a great justice to my story that helped it to get lauded at the film festival, Suranga said.

In October this year, ‘For a Son’ will be screened in Italy. But Suranga has no fixed idea when he will be able to screen in Sri Lanka in the near future. “There are many films in line to be screen in Sri Lanka. So I cannot say when I will be able to screen my film in Sri Lanka. But as soon as possible, I will screen it in Sri Lanka for our fans,” Suaranga said.


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