Film projects: Open Doors Hub

Sri Lanka  ·  Color  ·  90'


Sri Lanka. Thirty years of civil war have come to an end. KALA, a fifty-seven-years-old widow, an English Literature teacher at the university, is a Tamil who lives in Jaffna (main northern city of the Island) with her daughter and grandson. Her son, Rajan was abducted by an unknown group at the last stages of the war. Kala is on a relentless local campaign to find her son with several dozen other mothers in the same situation. She believes that Rajan was abducted by government forces. Kala receives an invitation from her old university friend MALINI, a fifty-seven-years-old Sinhala lawyer, to join her in Colombo. Malini’s son, a soldier, had gone missing during the conflict. Despite being in opposite sides of the war, the two women embark on a campaign to find their children and set up a National Mothers Front to demand accountability from the authorities and do demonstrations in Colombo. They are helped by several politicians including Ranga (fifty eight years old letting politician), their university classmate with whom Kala shares a painful past. The effort to launch a mass movement invokes resistance from the pro-military groups. After the small success of their first press conference, the two women realize the need to go back to Jaffna to mobilize the mothers there. To protect their family, facing threats and intimidation, Malini goes to Jaffna with her daughter-in-law and her grand-daughter. The journey starts with confirmation of Malini’s son death, but they manage to bring a new enthusiasm to the movement. They come back to Colombo. Malini reveals she has a cancer and short time to live. Despite the several and strong efforts to discourage them, the Mothers Front begins to gather momentum.


Director‘s Note

I was born in a small village in North - East Sri Lanka where many battles of the 30 years long war took place. I grew up spending most of my life in the war zone surviving through the carnage of the bloody conflict. I feel that I am permanently scarred with psychological shrapnel of the traumatic experiences of three decades of relentless war. While the peace is fragile, vulnerable war weary communities and individuals will not be able to withstand a recurrence of war. Making this film will provide a way for my own redemption from the trauma of a lifetime. The narrative of the film suggests optimism through cultivating love and trust between victims on both sides. Amma is a reflection of memories of my generation told through the lives of two women who embark upon an odyssey for truth and justice. The film explores and poses questions about love, betrayal, brutality, sacrifice, human dignity, freedom, democracy and life. As a filmmaker I strongly believe the story has universal relevance with contemporary social realities around the globe. Empathy I feel with the stories of victims of current global crisis has prompted.

Production Company Profile

Founded in 2007, Sapushpa Expressions is devoted to making independent art films, with a focus on feature and short fiction and experimental films. It also engages in academic activities to develop film culture through filmmaking and film studies within Sri Lanka.


Selected Filmography

Amma by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara (Fiction, 90’, 2019, in development)

Burning Birds by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara (Fiction, 84’, 2016)

Flying Fish by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara (Fiction, 125’, 2011)





Sanjeewa Pushpakumara

Screenplay adapted by

Le Ruyet Clement, Priyath Liyanage, Sanjeewa Pushpakumara



Based on

Story by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara

Shooting format

Red Epic

Shooting location

Sri Lanka

Shooting start date

August 2019

Expected completion date

March 2020

Production status

Writing / Development


480'000 EUR

Financing in place

Currently raising

Related biographie(s)