“High School Junkies”- a team which consists of young and skillful artists from Negombo brought glory to Sri Lanka, recently. Their action/adventure short film, “Eidetic” was able to grab the attention of the international arena during its runtime of 16 minutes. The film was screened at the San Diego Comic-Con International Independent Film festival which is a platform for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their talent. “Eidetic” was the first ever Sri Lankan short film to be screened at the San Diego Comic-Con, the largest pop culture convention in the world and it’s a milestone in the Sri Lanka cinema industry.

“Eidetic” worked its way up amongst 350 films in the selective round and ended up being one of the three Asian movies which were screened at San Diego Comic-Con. The most intriguing fact about Eidetic is that its main character, portrayed by Akash Sunethkumara is the director of the movie as well. Akash has majored in Interactive Media and obtained a Masters of Art in Film and is currently employed at Raffles Institute, as a visiting lecturer in Visual Communication and Digital Media Design.

According to Akash, “Eidetic” was conceived via an online article he read based on eidetic memory. The production of the movie began in 2016 as an experimental project for his Masters thesis involving the help of his friends from school. Within the five months of production period, it was submitted to many film festivals, although they didn’t have high expectations about the reception. Nonetheless, their first achievement was   winning the first prize under the category of Action and Adventure at the Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival. Then they heard the news that “Eidetic” has been chosen to represent Sri Lanka at the San Diego Comic-Con Festival where was screened on the 21st of July 2017, at the Grand Marriot Ballroom in Hollywood.

That night, one of the judges in the panel, Tamiko Brownlee -a stuntwoman for major Hollywood productions (Avengers Infinity War, Arrow, True Blood etc..)- rated the movie with five stars and all the judges were simply astonished when they heard that the production cost of Eidetic was only $300. They highly appreciated Eidetic for being astounding despite its low budget and having a captivating story compared to other gigantic productions – which proves the fact that talented and creative artists in our small island are capable of achieving goals with flying colors under any circumstances. “Eidetic” will also be representing Sri Lanka at the Oscar-qualifying film fest, “Raindance” in the U.K, in September.

The plot of Eidetic revolves around a girl with total recall of her sensory memory who is blackmailed into locating another Eidetic in order to save her terminally ill mother until she discovers that the man she hunts has a far deeper connection to her.

The director- Akash, who is is thrilled with the continuous victories states, “Raffles has been continuously supportive of my creative career ever since I joined in April and has provided me with the flexibility to work on my films and impart knowledge to students when I am back in the academic field. Raffles entertains individuals who are working in their respective industries to conduct lectures as this means they are constantly up-to-date and involved in the know-how of the field they work in”. He fondly reminds the assistance of his senior lecturer and colleague, Mr. Nicola Govoni who will be joining him and team High School Junkies as a production designer in upcoming films.

Apart from his productions, Akash is determined on starting film-making courses within “Raffles”. This will be a golden gate for our novice artists who are eager to enter the film making industry with sophisticated facilities and knowledge residing within “Raffles”.

-Kasun Sankalpa.- for Sunday Times

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