Mirror Magazine catches up with young film makers Ray Jay and Udana Fonseka on their latest production
Sometime in 2004, Ray Jay and Udana Fonseka found themselves in the same workshop for aspiring film makers and actors. Both had a passion for film making – for Udana (26) it began when he watched Jurassic Park in 1993. For Ray Jay (27) it started even earlier – he says he decided to become a film maker at the age of 12. It was match made in the movies – now Ray and Udana run their own small outfit – Grindout Productions. Having opened their doors in 2009, the two founders produced its first film – an action flick titled ‘Chase’- that same year. In December 2010, they completed their second film.
‘Train to Kandy’ – straddles the genres of crime and drama, and is the story of two young women on the run for their lives. The film introduces child actress Deshani Pathirana, actor Kalana Gunasekara and it’s the first feature film appearance for the actor, Menaka Rajapaksa.
The outline of the film promises many a nail biting moment as a 24 year old call girl Jenny and a 14 year old runaway girl Amanda find themselves in an exceptionally difficult position – with the charge of murder hanging over their heads, the two must evade their most determined pursuer. Marlon, a diabolic thug and the son of the victim in question, holds the girls responsible and wants them captured at all costs.
The plot is the creation of Udana. As with their other projects, the duo split the responsibilities: Udana served as the Screenwriter and Director and Ray was the designated Director of Photography and handled the postproduction among other things. The two tell the Mirror Magazine that making films in Sri Lanka is still a difficult business – and that to get as far as they have is the result of a careful balancing act. Keeping films low budget yet managing to create a film that is entertaining means a carefully thought out script is one of the first things required. However, the two are also determined to keep their stories different. They’re determined to break the Bollywood formula that many local films mimic, they say, encouraging other young directors to “think out of the box.”
The company appears to be currently driven by pure determination – both men take on different roles and use simple equipment. Working with new faces, they keep costs low. Still, ‘Chase’ and ‘Last Train to Kandy’ have yet to be screened, but both Udana and Ray are hoping that that will change soon.
Udana has dabbled in acting himself. In 2005, he was cast in a leading role in the ‘The Corrupted,’ a 15 minute short film revolving around the drug world in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Previously he wrote/directed and produced another short film about a child in the aftermath of the tsunami, titled ‘Hope.’
Professionally, having been for most part in advertising, Udana has also studied Post Production and Visual FX. Ray has been in the field a little longer and says he’s served as an editor, cinematographer and visual effects artist since 2002. After graduating from South Seas Film & Television School and University of Auckland, Ray worked as an animator/visual effects artist (later head of post production) for Med TV in New Zealand. He says that he even had the chance to work for a brief while on Star Wars: The Clone Wars at Lucas Animation in Singapore.
That brush with big Hollywood seems to have whetted their appetites and both say they would like to take Sri Lankan filmmaking to Hollywood in the future. In the meantime, they’re focused on their next production. A sci-fi thriller written and directed by Ray titled ‘Re-Entry’ is slated for this year. The movie is meant to be a sequel to a movie that Ray is a big fan of – ‘Monsters,’ was written and directed by Gareth Edwards. The original story began when a NASA probe crash lands in Mexico. In his film, Ray wants to zoom in on Sri Lanka and see how we’re dealing with the aliens.
Having collaborated closely on several projects, Ray and Udana are likely to make this one work as well. They say their partnership is based on the fact that they’re so different yet respect each other enough to find middle ground.
Article from sundaymirror.lk
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