83 – A Very Short Film (2016) is an animation by Irushi Tennekoon, Sumudu Athukorala and Sumedha Kelegama. It tells the story of a man who is haunted by the memories of his involvement in the Black July riots of 1983. ’83 won the ‘Best Animated Film’ award at the Agenda14 Short Film Festival in 2016 and was screened at the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka. The film is also currently part of NYU Abu Dhabi’s MENASA Film and New Media syllabus.
Documentation of Dancing in the Void performed at the Royal Academy of Music in May 2023. This piece was inspired by an excerpt from ‘On the Nature of Things’ by Lucretius (99 BCE) which was part of my class reading at the Royal College of Art, and this is a retelling of it through opera, electroacoustics and animation.
Music by Archie John & Vocals by Oryna Veselovska
Quoting the passage here:
“Consider sunbeams. When the sun’s rays let in
Pass through the darkness of a shuttered room,
You will see a multitude of tiny bodies
All mingling in a multitude of ways
Inside the sunbeam, moving in the void,
Seeming to be engaged in endless strife,
Battle, and warfare, troop attacking troop,
And never a respite, harried constantly,
With meetings and with partings everywhere.
From this you can imagine what it is
For atoms to be tossed perpetually
In endless motion through the mighty void.”
For over a year, with delays due to the pandemic, I worked closely with Kandygs Handlooms to bring their origin story to life through a short stop motion animation. As a childhood friend of the Kandygs grandchildren, this project was extremely special and close to home. All the props and puppets were built by a skilled team at the Kandygs factory using handloom fabrics, then filmed frame-by-frame at my animation studio at home. The voices are narrated by the 12 grandchildren of the founders, Mr. Felix and Mrs. Sita Yahampath.
Meena’s colourful childhood is snatched away from her when her family is pushed into the brink of poverty and desperation. The story is directed by Yoshitha Perera and animated by Irushi Tennekoon with funding from Agenda14 and British Council’s Female Filmmakers First Grant. The Girl in the Rainwater Tree won the Best National Short Film award at the Jaffna International Cinema Festival in 2022.

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