Everything else.. Yasodhara Kariyawasam – Cinematic Storytelling in the 21st Century

Yasodhara Kariyawasam – Cinematic Storytelling in the 21st Century

2021 Jan 13

The Daring and the Passionate.

A budding film-maker and versatile writer, Yasodhara Kariyawasam won multiple titles at the 10th edition of the ‘Agenda 14 Short Film Festival’. Her film Ekthara Adara Kathawak won the ‘Best Film’ award, ‘Best Editing’, ‘Best Script’ and two ‘Best Performance’ awards. Yasodhara earned her well-deserved recognition, competing with 24 shortlisted candidates.

Her two films The Kahata and Ekthara Adara Kathawak, had both been submitted to the festival this year. She humbly mentioned that she had no idea whatsoever about the win at the online awards ceremony. 

“I was asked to go in front of the camera and that’s when I knew.”

Commenting on her origins in the field of cinema, her initial motive was to capture human emotions to reflect another side of life. She has brought this very idea into her award-winning film. With her co-scriptwriter, Deepthi Jayasinghe, she set out to put their ideas into action, by addressing the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of domestic abuse. Based on their lifelong experiences and observations, the film came to life in a matter of two days. 

The film touches on sensitive topics such as marital rape and abuse. It talks about how societal pressure affects relationships that are primarily built on human emotions. 

“There are no black and white characters” 

The film brings out the cause and consequence’ of domestic violence, without stigmatising gender roles. We’ve been hearing this since the beginning of mankind and end up stereotyping genders. However, Yasodhara’s attempt is not to revolt against a particular gender. She paints a balanced picture, for the audience to explore and reflect on the said issues. She believes our education system does not make the learner self-aware. That we are not given the space to think. What we learn, therefore, is to categorise men and women in a certain light.

“Men in our society are not given the space to be emotional, whereas women are penalised for being emotional.”

Challenging popular belief, the film was well-received in Colombo and beyond. She considers the reception to the film as her biggest win. 

“It resonates with many. Both men and women, they reached out to us.” 

Both Yasodhara and Deepthi emptied their salaries to fund the process making finances a challenge. However, she didn’t fail to mention the support received from the production team and everyone in between. Special thanks were forwarded to Deepthi Wijesinghe, Tharusha Kumarasignhe and actors: Ashan Dias, Christina Britto and Hashen Ratnayake for trusting her on the project.  

“Don’t look at yourself through any barrier you face, make your passion your work”, she said, to all aspiring creators with fresh and impactful ideas. 

A writer, law student, teacher and film-maker, we at Pulse, wish her the very best to continue her journey and for more wins going forward!