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

Press: Article on The Brothers Shaikh, Freedom House, 1 August 2013

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Stateless Media founder, Peter Savodnik’s article in Freedom House: Impunity and the Power of the Press in Sri Lanka: “I reported the story, and I worked with two brilliant filmmakers. Kannan Arunasalam, in Sri Lanka, was artful and fearless; he helped illustrate the beauty and darkness of a country that is still struggling to figure [...]

New film: ‘The Brothers Shaikh’ posted on The New Yorker, 24 July 2013

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The new film I co-directed about the killing of British tourist Khuram Shaikh in Sri Lanka, was posted on The New Yorker, 24 July 2013. The Brothers Shaikh, produced and reported by Peter Savodnik, directed and filmed by Kannan Arunasalam and Ed Perkins. A Stateless Media Production.

‘Paper’ screened at Guggenheim Museum, New York, April 2013

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My documentary short Paper was screened as part of a lecture on South Asian contemporary art, Guggenheim Museum, New York, April 2013

‘Kerosene’ wins best documentary short, SAID 2013, Seattle, USA

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My film ‘Kerosene’ (16 mins) is the winner of the Prism award for best documentary short at the Seattle South Asian International Documentary Festival 2013.

‘Kerosene’ at South Asian International Documentary Festival 2013, SIFF Center, Seattle

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Kerosene (16 mins) in competition at South Asian International Documentary Festival 2013, Seattle, USA.

PIX Quarterly, India, October 2012

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Featured in the Sri Lankan edition of this photography quarterly magazine.

‘Expressions of Identity’, Royal Commonwealth Society, London

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Invited to share some of my work at this event in London organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, International Alert and Voices for Reconciliation; chaired by George Alagiah and speaking alongside the writer Roshi Fernando and playwright Prassanna Puwanarajah.

Kerosene film screened at 8th Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival 2012

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Short documentary film (16 mins) in competition at annual Aljazeera film festival in Doha, April 2012.

Paper broadcast on Aljazeera English, March 2012

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Paper broadcast on Aljazeera English, March 2012

Review of ‘Kerosene’, Time Out Mumbai, 2012

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Time Out previews a festival of documentaries from South Asia, Nandini Ramnath, February 17, 2012: “The new batch has two standout films. The first, Kerosene, is a curio about the Sri Lankan civil war, which ended in March 2009 … The crisp images, precisely composed shots and desaturated colour palette conjure up a city caught [...]

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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