Kannan Arunasalam

Kannan is a British Sri Lankan documentary filmmaker and visual journalist.

Kannan’s work has appeared in The Guardian, The New Yorker, AOL Originals, in addition to broadcasts on BBC and Al Jazeera English. His films have screened at international film festivals and art museums, including Seattle South Asian Film Festival (2015); Neuberger Museum of Art, N.Y. (2014); Rubin Museum of Art, N.Y.C. (2015); and selected for Film South Asia’s Travelling Film Festivals (2011, 2013, 2015). Kannan is a director at the Los Angeles based production company, Stateless Media that produces its signature shortreals for online platforms. In 2013, he was awarded best documentary short for Kerosene (16 mins) at the Seattle South Asian International Documentary Festival and the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation’s best documentary short prize for The Story of One (19 mins).

Kannan has over 7 years of experience in media production working for a variety of clients and under different grants including the Ford Foundation, the US State Department and the World Bank. In addition, he has 12 years of experience of working in media restrictive, conflict and post-conflict environments, during which he conceptualised and developed award-winning new media narrative projects. He studied Psychology at the University of Cambridge (1992-95) and International Human Rights at the University of Oxford (2007-08), focusing on media and conflict. Kannan is also a qualified media and human rights lawyer. In 2015 he was a visiting lecturer at Cornell University, N.Y., teaching a course on media representations of the Sri Lankan conflict.

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

Portfolio

‘News from Jaffna’ commissioned by Al Jazeera English, broadcast on 29 September 2014

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‘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

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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

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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

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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.

Review of ‘I Am’ in New York Times, 7 February 2014

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“For viewers halfway around the world, “I Am” offers both a rich portrait of a region through the eyes of its elders, as well as a reminder of how, when racial or ethnic differences are put in the foreground, they overshadow both public and private life. Kannan Arunasalam is a Sri Lankan-born artist who grew [...]

I AM project exhibited at Neuburger Museum of Art, Purchase, N.Y., January 4 – March 16, 2014

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The exhibition of twenty international artists and thirty artworks explores how artists express their individual and collective identities, and the relationships among memory, document, and fiction. The mixed media exhibition presents work that uses online data, remembrance, handiwork, genetics, gaming, and Google to mark the discord, beauty and banality that occur each day.

Winner of the inaugural Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film annual prize for best documentary short, November 2013

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NEW YORK, NY –(Nov 19, 2013) – In its inaugural debut, The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film today awarded Sri Lankan journalist and filmmaker Kannan Arunasalam its first annual prize for best documentary ‘short-short’ film. “Rooted in reportage and traditional documentary filmmaking, Kannan’s film doesn’t try to tone down these atrocities. Instead, [...]

‘The Brothers Shaikh’, posted on The Guardian, 15 November 2013

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Our short film,’The Brothers Shaikh’, posted on The Guardian and voted its ‘Top Video’. A man searches for answers after his brother’s murder in Sri Lanka. Peter Savodnik, Kannan Arunasalam and Ed Perkins. Source: Stateless Media Length: 14min 40sec.

Doc short posted on Guardian, to mark International Day of Peace, 21 September 2013

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Sri Lankan Olympian Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam on his hopes for reconciliation Diaspora communities can inspire peace in their country of origin, according to US citizen Dr Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam, a former Olympian of Tamil heritage who coaches young athletes in Sri Lanka. Though he is sceptical of the government’s reconciliation programme, he says sport can help heal [...]

My two documentary shorts accepted to Film South Asia 2013, Kathmandu

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My two documentary shorts, Broken (15 mins) and The Story of One (18 m 54 s) were accepted into competition at Film South Asia 2013, selecting the best documentaries about South Asia over the previous two years.

Photography

A selection of photographs from my portfolio from Sri Lanka and Burma 2010-2014. Please get in touch if you’d like to purchase any of these images.

Copyright © 2009-14 Kannan Arunasalam

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