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 5 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 8 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

Peacetime perils for the Palmyrah tree, Earth Beat, Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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Decades of war between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers wreaked havoc on the country and devastated an all-important tree known as the Palmyrah. So people were hoping that in peacetime, the Palmyra would once again flourish. Instead, peace has created a whole new threat to this icon of Tamil culture. Kannan Arunasalam comments from Jaffna in Sri Lanka.

God of war and peace, The State We’re In, Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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Kannan Arunasalam goes on a pilgrimage with an elderly aunt to a Sri Lankan Hindu shrine. It attracts people of all faiths, but some fear it is increasingly overtaken with Buddhist trappings, revealing the political fissures in Sri Lanka.

The tobacco farmer, I Am project

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At 105 years of age, Veerakathy may be the oldest man in Jaffna. The tobacco farmer from Velanai has already outlived six of his sons. He talks about a Jaffna way of life that has helped him live a very long life.

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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