2019 Jul 10
What if I tell you that I watched a local horror film that made me too afraid to sleep that night? Or an action thriller that I had to pause and collect myself before I was able to finish with it?
Sri Lankan cinema has a rep for being “not the best” but when the San Diego Comic-Con chooses two locally made short films to be featured in their film festival we know that something is up.
When I got to know about High School Junkies, the people behind these short films, I knew I had to know everything I can about them. This lead to me having a wonderful meeting with Akash, their director, and Shenic from the team, and believe me when I say, they have some amazing things up their sleeves!
High School Junkies are a group of young Sri Lankan Filmmakers based in Negombo and is headed by Akash Sk. Shenic Tissera, Kasun Rathnasiri and Stefania Perera make the rest of the team. They focus more on genre films they are passionate about; the scary and the exciting, from action to thriller to sci-fi.
How did it all start?
It all started when Akash started a film studies degree online. (Yes folks, online degrees work). Apparently, they have a film that has not yet seen the light of day but their first short film, Eidetic, which was featured in the San Diego Comic-Con in 2017, was also Akash’s submission for his Master’s Degree.
The team has been friends since they were in school and things just happened to fall into place.
Comic-Con. How did that happen?
Eidetic was originally a Master’s submission but they also happened to submit it to the film festival and to quote Akash, “We forgot about it till I got an email at midnight. Then I had to wake everyone else up and tell them the good news!”
Ironically enough, their new short film, The Summoning, was also chosen for this year’s film festival and they had forgotten about that too!
What’s it like to make a movie?
According to Akash, making a movie, even a short one, takes a lot of time. (No surprise there!) The story is THE most important part of the production and fine tuning this takes time.
Once they come up with an idea it’s all about the components and putting it into place. Whether it be using an old Arabic bible as a prop, making an Ouija board, or practising fight sequences, no detail is too small.
When it comes to the actual production, Akash continued to stress time and time again that it’s not the equipment that makes something great. His advice was that one should not wait for equipment and finances, but to just start to create.
For a normal movie shoot, there is a team of about 20 people involved including the actors and the crew, who are mostly friends who just happen to be young and very ‘millaniel-esque’.
According to you what’s the most important part of a good production?
Cinema is a form of storytelling so this is obviously the most important part of a production.
Apart from that it’s the people who do the actual work.
What’s the single most important thing that you have learnt so far?
“If you find something that you’re passionate about don’t compensate it for anything.”
What more can we expect from you in the future?
High school junkies are quite a busy bunch. They are working on their first feature-length movie so I’m sure we have a lot of things to look forward to. Other than that they are also working on more short films for their YouTube channel and a few music videos.
As wonderful as this meeting was, something tells me that we were just scratching at the surface of something amazing, and High School Junkies are a force to be reckoned with. Check out their work and trust me, you will love it.