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Still Here

Suranga D. Katugampala, Francesca Bennett

Italy, Portugal

synopsis

A ghostly tree emerges from the fog swirling around a shabby courtyard in the Tuarith estate. Two children sitting on the steps are waiting for the return of their mother, who has set off on a mysterious journey.

Tired of waiting, they go outside the confines of the courtyard and discover an old door, hidden behind a tangle of overgrown plants. Every night, a mysterious barge moors here, laden with its glittering bright cargo.

Having lost all hope of their mother returning someday, the two siblings decide to go and join her, boarding the barge as it is about to depart.

intention

I spent the early years of my life waiting for my mother to return from trips that would take her far away from Sri Lanka. My brother and I would make up angst-ridden tales about the mysterious places that separated us from her.

Years later, in a working-class area of Milan with a large migrant population, I happened to stumble across the memory of a visionary project to equip the city with a vast port. The project had long been abandoned, but it was still rooted in the memories of the elders of the community who were once young labourers, who had come there from all over Italy to work. Their story reminded me of my mother’s journeys.

Now, everything has changed. An earthquake is creating a new world order. The old European dream is fading, while a new Asian dream is rising: a futuristic Chinese city is putting Sri Lanka on the new Silk Road. Since I am drawn to the elsewhere and inebriated by anachronisms in history, I want to film the absence and the memories left by layers of dreams

budget, distribution & sales

"Still Here" is the second feature film by Suranga D. Katugampala. After a year-long development phase supported by RAI Cinema, TorinoFilmLab and the Italian non-profit organization Pianoterra, we have completed the script and a first location scouting in Milan, where the film will be shot. Our estimated budget is approximately 600.000 €. It will be an international co-production. An agreement already exists between Italy (Okta Film) and Portugal (O Som e a Fúria), and likewise we are working to involve a Sri Lankan co-producer as well as another European partner for artistic, financial and distribution reasons. We are also looking for an international sales agent and an Italian distributor. "Still Here" is scheduled to go into production in Fall 2020 (7 weeklong shooting). The director’s status of belonging to two “national identities” will help redefine a new free cinema aimed at revealing and questioning the inevitable merging of stories of the North/South/ East/West of the 21st century.

Two kids board a barge to reach their mother who vanished in a city along the new Silk Road.
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Suranga D. Katugampala

Scriptwriter, Film Director

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Francesca Bennett

Production

production notes

original title
Still Here

directed by
Suranga D. Katugampala

produced byOkta Film
Via C. Battisti, 23
34125, Trieste
Italy, Italy

total production budget
€ 800175,05