Sanjeewa Pushpakumara

film director, screenwriter and producer

Born on 05th May 1977 in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, Trincomalee.

Pushpakumara completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in 2005. He pursued a diploma in filmmaking at the Sri Lanka National Film Corporation in 2006. In 2007, Pushpakumara received a scholarship from the Korean Culture and Tourism Ministry under its Cultural Partnership Initiative (CPI), to study filmmaking in the Asian Young Film Forum and also to learn Korean at Jeonbuk National University. In 2008, he obtained a Master’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Kelaniya.

In 2009, Pushpakumara was selected to the Asian Film Academy of Busan International Film Festival. He participated in Berlinale Talent Campus in 2012. In 2014, he obtained an advanced degree (Master of Fine Arts) in filmmaking from the Chung-Ang University in South Korea as a Korean Government Scholarship Holder (KGSP).

Pushpakumara’s first feature film, Flying Fish (Sinhala: Igillena Maluwo), received post-production support from the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). Subsequently, Flying Fish world premiered at the IFFR and was nominated for the Festival’s Tiger Award. The film reflects the deep social and psychological trauma of Sri Lanka’s twenty-six-year-long civil war.[3] Flying Fish garnered many accolades and the film was invited to more than thirty international film festivals around the world. In a review for the 5th Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival, film commentator Tony Rayns wrote that, in Pushpakumara, “Sri Lankan Cinema has found its true modernist” and he has also described Flying Fish as “scrupulously non-partisan, deeply humane, sexually candid, coolly modernist in style and almost indecently beautiful”.

In 2012, Pushpakumara was invited by the Cinéfondation of Cannes Film Festival to its Résidence programme in Paris to develop his second feature film, Burning Birds (Sinhala: Davena Vihagun). The film received production support from Doha Film Institute and post-production support from the Hubert Bals Fund and Aide aux cinémas du monde (CNC and Institut français).

In 2018, the film project Amma (Tamil: Mother) won Locarno Film Festival’s Open Doors main prize. In 2019, the Amma project was also invited to Film Independent’s Global Media Makers LA Residency in Los Angeles for advance script development. In 2014, the Biennale College of Venice Film Festival invited Pushpakumara to Venice to develop his third film project Peacock Lament. In 2019, Peacock Lament was also selected by the Nipkow Art Residence in Berlin for advance script development. In 2022 film as a part of Competition at Tokyo Film Festival.

Filmography as director:

2022 Peacock Lament
2021 Asu
2016 Burning Birds
2011 Flying Fish

Filmography in our catalog