KANNAN ARUNASALAM

Kannan is a British–Sri Lankan documentary filmmaker. His work focuses on stories throughout Asia and has appeared in The Guardian, The New Yorker, Upworthy, Engadget, TechCrunch, Buzzfeed, AOL Studios, and broadcast on the BBC and Al Jazeera English. His films have screened at international film festivals and art galleries, including The Tetley, Leeds (2019); Dhaka Art Summit (2018); Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2016); Rubin Museum of Art, New York (2015); and Neuberger Museum of Art, New York (2014). Kannan is a director at the Los Angeles based production company, Stateless Media that produces its signature shortreals for online platforms. Kannan studied Psychology at the University of Cambridge, and International Human Rights at the University of Oxford, focusing on media. In 2015, he was a visiting lecturer at Cornell University, teaching a course on media representations of the Sri Lankan conflict. Kannan is also a qualified media lawyer.

Kannan is based in Colombo and London and is available to work internationally.

Portfolio

Solo exhibition: ‘The Tent’, South Gallery, University of Brighton, March – May 2019

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Solo exhibition of new film installation The Tent, at University of Brighton Gallery. Juxtaposing the activity and rhythms of everyday life with the bombast of their protest’s ‘media days’, The Tent invites audiences to reflect on the lives of these women left behind, closely monitored by the authorities, caught between hope and grief but unable to move on.

Review: ‘The Tent’, The Tetley, Leeds, February – June 2019

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“The Tent is emotionally rich… Arunasalam’s imagery is arresting… Arunasalam invites us along on his journey to understand Sri Lanka. He probes the civil war and represents its losses but – by foregrounding individual stories of determination and diversity – aspires to a more unified future.” (Kannan Arunasalam: The Tent, Amelia Crouch, Corridor8, 3 April 2019)

Review: ‘The Tent’, The Tetley, Leeds, February – June 2019

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“The resulting 20-minute film is quietly and profoundly affecting.” (Two hard-hitting new exhibitions are on display at the Tetley in Leeds connecting local and international stories, The Yorkshire Post, 1 March 2019).

Solo exhibition: ‘The Tent’, The Tetley, Leeds, February – June 2019

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Solo exhibition of new film installation The Tent and other work, at ‘The Tetley’ contemporary art gallery, Leeds 16 February —2 June 2019.

Documentary screenings, Dhaka Art Summit, 2-10 February 2018

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Delighted to have shown three of my short films (including ‘Paper’, 2011, film still above) at the 2018 Dhaka Art Summit’s ’One Hundred Thousand Small Tales’, curated by Sharmini Pereira.

Doc short ‘Thep’ is Official Selection at VAEFF, NYC, 9-11 November 2017

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A raw cut of ‘Thep’ (2016), my documentary short was selected for 7th Annual Video Art and Experimental Film Festival (VAEFF). The festival ”introduces New York City to the most conceptually and aesthetically arresting, daring and provocative experimental films from around the world.” Directed, shot and edited by Kannan Arunasalam. Produced by Stateless Media.

Invitation to Havana, Cuba from Cornell University’s AAP, Sep. – Oct. 2016

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Invitation from Cornell University’s Architecture, Art and Planning and the Society for the Humanities to participate in Cuba as Project: Mellon Seminar Visits Havana “The Mellon seminar students were joined by DuFour’s architecture option studio, Havana After Nature, as well as three invited guests — documentary filmmaker Kannan Arunasalam, architectural historian and theorist Iulia Statica…”

Release of ‘Trust Disrupted: Bitcoin and the Blockchain’, Stateless Media, AOL Originals, TechCrunch, October 2016

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Cinematographer on Stateless Media’s documentary series on the rise of bitcoin, “Trust Disrupted: Bitcoin and the Blockchain”, Stateless Media, AOL Originals, TechCrunch, October 2016

New film: ‘Sampur’, released 6 April 2016

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Sampur (30 mins) about a community’s struggle to return home, after decades of conflict and displacement. The film follows three families from Sampur, eastern Sri Lanka over three months, in the wake of the community’s court case victory against the government to return to their homes after the war. Commissioned by CPA and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Documentary trailer here.

‘Thep’ shortreal posted on Upworthy, nearly 1/2 million views, 30 March 2016

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Upworthy posted our shortreal Thep — a mild-mannered surgeon in a storefront clinic in Bangkok who gives people the bodies they’ve always wanted. He almost never sleeps or eats, and he keeps his mobile by his side always. He’s glad the rest of the world is finally catching up. Directed, shot and cut by Kannan Arunasalam for Stateless Media.

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