Chennai, Oct 29 (): A two-hour feature documentary by Leena Manimekalai on enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka titled, ’White Van Stories’, produced by Kanavuppattarai Productions is all set for a global release.
The release of ‘White Van Stories’ coincides with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled in Colombo next month,which has come under opposition from many quarters, considering Sri Lanka’s continued abuse of human rights.
Leena Manimekalai is a Chennai-based independent film-maker, poet, feminist, activist and an artist. Leena through visual and textual medium brings to light socio-political issues that are ignored and usually swept under the carpet.
Her works include three published poetry anthologies and a dozen films in genres of documentary, fiction and experimental visual poetry.
Her feature film, ’Sengadal’ portrayed the ghost lives of people, affected by decades-long ethnic war in Sri Lanka. Sengadal was screened in many film festivals and Leena was bestowed with lots of appreciation for her daring efforts to bring the atrocities of Sri Lankan regime into light. Sengadal went on to bag honours like Indian Panorama Selections (2011) and NAWFF Award for Best Asian Women Cinema – Tokyo (2011).
Sri Lanka is notorious for its enforced disappearances, starting from late 1980s. In her recent interview to DC, Leena Manimekalai talked about her last trip to Jaffna where she attended the 41st edition of the Tamil Literary Conference (Ilakkiya Sandhippu), a first-of-its-kind event to be held in northern Sri Lanka in the last 30 years. She had then stayed back in the country to trace the bloody death trail from Mannar to Mullaitheevu where thousands of Tamils were killed in cold blood during the last stage of the Sri Lankan war.
Leena remarked that Sri Lanka was into making good roads and inviting foreign investments to boot up its infrastructure but she was haunted by the sighting of widowed, traumatized, disabled people she came across one out of every five persons and shocked by the militarization of northern peninsula.
‘White Van Stories’ that is in the making, tracks seven women across Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim ethnicities whose father or brother or husband or friend or beloved disappeared against one’s will.
Leena’ docu-feature focuses on the rally that was held in Jaffna and Colombo recently on International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, during UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s visit to Sri Lanka.
To learn more about Leena’s ‘White Van Stories’, you may have a look at: http://www.whitevanstories.com