TRANSCENDING THE BORDERS OF ART HOUSE CINEMA
Rehan Mudannayake abides by the desire to inspire impactful filmmaking in the range of television accessible to the masses, and reaching a middle ground that manages the distinctions of both mainstream and arthouse cinema. Since putting in an extraordinary amount of dedicated work, the results have spoken for themselves this year. Initially enrolling at Elizabeth Moir in Colombo, and then to boarding school in the UK, Rehan eventually pursued the study of film, musicology, theatre and literature at the University of Kent and Amsterdam respectively. Having graduated in 2012, the filmmaker chose to return to Colombo. This year, we believe has marked a significant milestone in Rehan’s film career as he embraced the combination of arthouse films and commercial projects which has placed the director in a respected position after having consolidated his position in the wider field of contemporary filmmaking.
Rehan’s portfolio has documented many tales in the form of educative documentaries, innovative advertisements and personal film projects. The first production was conceived through a series of short documentaries for the Ray Wijewardene Charitable Trust, a cash prize and grant body set up to provide support to the incredible possibilities brought to life by homegrown inventors across the island. Deshamanya Vidya Jyothi Dr. Philip ‘Ray’ Wijewardene was Rehan’s visionary grandfather, and a source of inspiration in the field of engineering, agriculture and aviation for countless others. Rehan created a documentary on each of the nominees and their inventions, presenting a personal side to their lives, introducing a different angle of a magnificent culture to industry professionals and in extent, the heart of Colombo. This gave the filmmaker an experienced grounding and motivation to take his work further over the next few years.
Re-working Norms in Creative Industries
Since this time Rehan produced moving images for different avenues. These included making videos for education and special needs children with UNICEF, commercial avenues for Shangri- La, ILO, Equal Ground, Yamu’s Colombo Walks, Elsz’s Blue Scar and provided much production design assistance for Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of ‘Midnight’s Children’. A recent and massive phenomenon was the AIA Insurance Father’s Day social experiment and advertisement campaign that realised viral success online, reaching over 215,000 viewers on Facebook alone. The commercial presented fathers with their own children’s responses to being interviewed about their upbringing. The adult’s reactions in turn were filmed, with the intention of highlighting the emotional value of securing life insurance for the safety of their children. An accompanying advertisement from the maternal perspective has also enjoyed great success, as it presented a strong, original and alternative perspective to motherhood. The commerical allowed a population to see themselves as the superwomen they truly are, generating a wave of
emotional feedback in return...
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