12-14 October 2021

24th Asian Project Market

2020 project

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Project Song Bird No. 16
Director Prasanna VITHANAGE
Country Sri Lanka
Producer Susara DINAL
Production Company Maharaja Entertainments
Writer Prasanna VITHANAGE
Genre Drama
Running time 100′
Project StatusPre-production
Director’s Profile
Prasanna Vithanage is considered as one of the pioneers of the third generation of the Sri Lankan cinema. He has directed feature films including Death on a Full Moon Day (1997), August Sun (2003), Flowers of the Sky (2008), With You, Without You (2012) and Children of the Sun (2019) and won many prestigious national and international awards.
Producer’s Profile
CEO of MTV Channel Pvt. Ltd. & Maharaja Entertainments Pvt. Ltd (a television network and a record label/film distributor respectively). Susara has been involved in the entertainment industry of Sri Lanka for over two decades. His directorial debut was a box office hit film and he has worked as the executive producer of several award winning and popular films.
Janaka and Shakila are a romantic couple idealistic about bringing up children. Disillusioned with the conventional system, they decide to give their sons, Chaga and Ayush a holistic education. Their journey is interrupted by the stigma attached to homeschooling and the children’s urge to experience the atmosphere of a school. They gain admission for their two sons at a school, mainly due to the children’s exceptional musical abilities. The two children soon become a phenomenal success. Irritated by their success, their music teacher bans them from representing the school. At one competition, the organisers refuse to recognise Ayush as the winner — claiming he had scored an extraordinarily large margin. When Janaka begs the officials to not punish Ayush for his brilliance, they promise to present a special trophy. But, Ayush receives no such trophy and a hurt and angry Janaka punches the official. The school denies the children access to the school’s musical instruments. A distraught Ayush loses his voice and refuses to attend school. Bullied and harassed, Chaga also decides to drop out. Janaka, regretting his efforts in pushing the boys to compete, decides to give up on music. Chaga leaves for Australia to study engineering, but unhappy with his course enrols at the Australian Academy of Music. He gradually encourages Ayush to voice his new music compositions, and Ayush begins a slow recovery. When Chaga receives a new assignment, he convinces Ayush to be the voice of his music. As Ayush sings, he begins to regain his voice.
Director’s Statement
Conventional education system that was established to provide the way to intellectual emancipation through understanding of the world around by developing individual character and knowledge, has merely become a way of achieving a qualification to establish a mundane living. I was moved by the true story of one family that embarked upon a struggle against the system, refusing to abide by the unfair conventions, in order to pursue their dream of providing their two sons with a “proper” classical holistic education. The bitter struggle that followed involved them in a chain of events that led them to confront an array of cruel contemporary realities. Ensuing battle against almost medieval attitudes established and administered with cruel enthusiasm by certain people in power, meant not only parents but also the children becoming casualties of a war declared against them. Surprisingly cruel, shameful and criminally unethical behavior of individuals bestowed upon on respectable positions of responsibility, was almost hard to believe. Their struggle is relentless and continuing to this day. I am not convinced that they will ever reach a ray of light at the end of the tunnel of frustration. Yet, I feel that it is a battle worth of recognition. It is a story of courage and endurance of a family. It is a story that needs to be told.
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