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.
‘News from Jaffna’ (Director’s cut) screened at Seattle South Asian Film Festival, 16 October 2015
Release of ‘The People’s Prophet’, The Guardian, 7 September 2015
Release of our Stateless Media shortreal ‘The People’s Prophet‘ on The Guardian, 7 September 2015 “Elections take place in November in Myanmar, with Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party expected to win most seats. But alongside the political debate, there’s another conflict – between each side’s astrologers, for whom advising politicians is a lucrative business. [...]
Release of ‘Citizen Mars’, Stateless Media, AOL Originals, Engadget, 1 September 2015
Latest series of shortreals, Stateless Media’s ‘Citizen Mars‘, commissioned by AOL Originals and Engadget. It was an absolute pleasure to capture would-be Marstronaut Shradha Prasad’s story from India, and the entire Stateless Media team. “We go in depth with five of the finalists for the Mars One mission: everyday people determined to be the first [...]
Myanmar: Portraits of Diversity, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 15 April 2015
USIP screening of Myanmar Portraits of Diversity, Washington DC, 9 April 2015
‘News from Jaffna’ commissioned by Al Jazeera English, broadcast on 29 September 2014
‘News from Jaffna’ (25 mins) was commissioned by the Al Jazeera Witness team under its Viewfinder Asia programme, and first broadcast on 29 September 2014. A young reporter dares to cover press freedom in one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists – Sri Lanka.
Screenings and Q&A, ‘New South Asian Documentary: On and Off Screen’, New York University, 25-27 September 2015
Screening/Presentation: A selection of work by Kannan Arunasalam followed by Q&A with Kannan Arunasalam and Vasuki Nesiah (Gallatin Human Rights Initiative). ‘New South Asian Documentary: On and Off Screen’, New York University, New York, 25-27 September 2015
‘The Story of One’ selected for Travelling Film South Asia, 2014
After each FSA festival, a package of 8-10 films are selected to travel across the Subcontinent and the world as the at more than 50 international venues”>Travelling Film Southasia (TFSA) package.’The Story of One’ also won the inaugural Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation grant prize for documentary film in 2013.
‘The Singing Fish of Batticaloa’, BBC Radio 4
The search for an elusive watery wonder in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Broadcast Monday 28th July 2014, 11:00 am Produced by Cicely Fell and Kannan Arunasalam Photography by Kannan Arunasalam, Cicely Fell, Thangavel Sakthiyalingam Music By Adam Nicholas A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.