ITN Productions, which made the original Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, asked graduate film students to make a short film based on the original Channel 4 documentaries.
The one which the production team felt showed an original and innovative response was by Cristina Picchi, 30, a filmmaker and writer based in London.
Cristina said: “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields begins with a warning: the film contains shocking images. And it really does.
“When asked to edit a video using the film’s footage I felt overwhelmed: everything seemed so important yet, when de-contextualised from the original narrative, so horrific and unnecessarily graphic. I then decided to take a different approach.
Eyes On The Ground is a simple video documenting five people watching Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields for the first time. It deals with human emotions and with the processes of acknowledgment – a disturbing but necessary process that everyone can undertake by simply watching a film, a first small step towards the possibility of some sort of justice.”
Cristina’s films have been screened at festivals and galleries including the London International Documentary Film Festival and the National Portrait Gallery of London. She has a MA in European Literature from the University of Pisa and a master’s degree in Screen Documentary from Goldsmiths University.
Chris Shaw, executive producer of Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields for ITN, said: “The idea was to see if the raw material of our two films could be repurposed to reach a different audience – six film graduates were approached and each produced a really distinctive take on the Sri Lankan Killing Fields. Of the six films we viewed – all had real merit, but we felt Cristina Picchi’s three minute film “Eyes On The Ground” stood out for its originality and lateral thinking.”
The five other film graduates who made short films were Zeina Hurst, Niels Ladefoey, Jeong One Park, Onyeka and a team of Owen Evans, Tom Tudgray and Kjeiti Swentesen. (CH-4)