A film can either make an impact or be just another film. Sri Lankan journalist and filmmaker Kannan Arunasalam has however made that impact he hoped for through his short film which is based on the war in Sri Lanka.
In its inaugural debut, The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film last week awarded Kannan its first annual prize for best documentary ‘short-short’ film. The foundation also announced the opening of the 2014 call for entries for outstanding work in documentary photography and documentary film.
Selected by the executive board of the foundation, Kannan Arunasalam will receive a US$5,000 prize for best documentary short film. His film, The Story of One, documents the lives of a priest and a boy as it attempts to trace what happened to them 22 years after their disappearance during the war.
“Rooted in reportage and traditional documentary filmmaking, Kannan’s film doesn’t try to tone down these atrocities. Instead, he treats the viewer to the very voices of those that had been there and lost loved ones,” said Foundation Founder and President Manuel Rivera-Ortiz. “Kannan bears witness on our behalf reminding us yet again of the power of not only the moving voice, but of the moving picture. His work exemplifies the core mission of our foundation.”
Born and based in Sri Lanka, Kannan is a filmmaker, photographer and journalist. He is also a media and human rights lawyer and a regular contributor to Radio Netherlands Worldwide. He studied at the University of Cambridge and completed a Masters degree at University of Oxford.
The foundation also opened the 2014 call for entries. Photographers and filmmakers from around the world are welcomed to submit original work covering disenfranchised communities and people ravaged by war, famine, poverty, religious persecution, political oppression, forced migration, and any social issues or injustices impacting populations around the world. One submission will be selected in each category to receive US$5,000 in funding. The documentary photography grant will be awarded for the completion or start and completion of a print photographic project. The documentary short-short film prize will also be awarded to an outstanding filmmaker for an already completed film project.
Grant and prize winners will be announced in July 2014 in Arles, France, during Les Rencontres d’Arles. Finalists will have their works displayed and screened alongside past and present shortlisted projects at Galerie Huit in Arles.
Didier de Faÿs, Foundation Director, said “Kannan’s win is a great achievement. By empowering local journalists covering local stories, we empower the voiceless through the global impact of images. Our new film grant category expands this potential. We are excited by the combined photography and film 2014 call for entries.”
Established in 2010, The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film is a Not-for-Profit Organization committed to positive social discourse in underrepresented communities throughout the world by encouraging emerging photographers working in developing nations to keep their lenses fixed on the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Headquartered in New York, the foundation is a charitable trust serving the international photographic and film community through exhibitions, publishing, grants and other curatorial projects.