Charmini Peli Kankanamalage.

April 15, 2015

Student project to premiere at Cannes

Charmini Peli Kankanamalage wanted her master’s project in French to reach beyond an academic audience.

She wanted to tell the world a story.

She’ll be getting her chance next month when her thesis project, in the form of a short film shot on a zero budget, will have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

Her 15-minute film, which was part of her graduate thesis in French, is a docudrama about a young mother who emigrates from Sri Lanka after its 30 years of civil war, and wants to be sure her child understands where he came from.

That film, titled Mal D’Archive, has been selected for showing in the Cannes Short Film Corner, a forum for especially talented young filmmakers from around the world.

Read: McMaster student's short film thesis will screen at Cannes festival 

Its story loosely echoes the filmmaker’s own story, including her feelings about raising her son far from her home country, and her sense of duty to make sure he grows up understanding his background.

It expresses feelings common to all Sri Lankans, who grow up imprinted, directly or indirectly, by the violence that has defined the country’s recent history.

In this video, the filmmaker, now a PhD student, discusses her project and what it means for it to be shown at Cannes.