Galery

A Gun & A Ring
UK

Crew

Director’s Statement (Lenin M. Sivam)

At the height of communal tensions between the ethnic majority Sinhalese and ethnic minority Tamils in Sri Lanka, many young Tamil men drew inspiration from Marxist revolutionaries, such as Vladimir Lenin, to find a solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem. During this time, many Tamil fathers named their sons after Lenin, as did mine. A couple of years after I was born, the ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka boiled over into a full-fledged war that was a large part of my life until the armed conflict ended in 2009.

Shortly after watching Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, a controversial 2011 British documentary by the Channel 4 network, regarding the final days of the civil war in Sri Lanka between the Sri Lankan Army and the rebels, I was shocked and disturbed by the brutality of the end and the toll that it took. I felt a lot of anger within me which I channeled into writing a script that eventually became A Gun & A Ring.

A Gun & A Ring is an honest reflection of my interpretation of the emotional toll of the war on the diaspora community.I explore the emotions facing many immigrants, including myself, wanting to live a new life but unable to let go of the past. The lives and stories of my characters are not entirely fictional. I grew up knowing or hearing of men and women who were haunted by the past yet courageously tried to shape a new future for their loved ones. This film is my tribute to them – to all my people.

Lenin M. Sivam (Director)

Lenin M. Sivam was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka and raised in Toronto, Canada.

Although always interested in movies, Lenin decided to put his passion aside in order to pursue a more traditional vocation to help support his family like many other new Canadians. He eventually graduated with a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo and embarked on his professional career as a software architect. However, the film bug bit him again a few years ago and he decided to enroll in filmmaking courses at Ryerson University – and there was no looking back.

A talented storyteller who writes and directs most of his movies, Sivam has a number of short films to his credit including the award-winning A Few Good People (2006), the critically acclaimed Strength (2007), and the thriller Next Door (2008). His debut feature film 1999 (2009) won critical acclaim and several film awards, both in Canada and around the world, establishing Sivam as an emerging Canadian filmmaker to watch for. His new feature, A Gun & A Ring, made its world premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival in June 2013 and was shortlisted for the festival’s coveted Golden Goblet Award.


Lenin M. Sivam’s Filmography

1999 (feature)

Title in English: 1999

Year of release: 2009

Running time: 101 minutes

Awards received:

Top 10 Canadian Films, Vancouver International Film Festival in October, 2009

CBC Reel Audience Choice Award, ReelWorld Film Festival in April, 2010

Best Feature Film Award, Toronto Independent Art Film Society (IAFS) in June, 2010

Part of the ‘Best Features’ Showcase, Toronto Moving Image Film Festival in October, 2010

Best Film Award (Midnight Sun), Oslo Tamil Film Festival in February, 2010

Best Feature Film Award, Chennai International Tamil Film Festival in July, 2011

Recognitions received:

Official Selection, University of Toronto Tamil Studies Conference in May, 2010

Official Selection, University of Toronto Cinema Studies Student Union in March, 2010

Official Selection, York University Centre for Asian Research in September, 2010

Official Selection, Swiss South Indian Film Festival in October, 2010

Official Selection, Illankai Tamil Sangam in November, 2010

Official Selection, Canadian Tamil Film Festival in January, 2011

Official Selection, London Happy Soul Festival in June, 2011

Iniyavarkal (short)

Title in English: A Few Good People

Year of release: 2006

Running time: 48 minutes

Awards received: Best Film of 2006 by Independent Art Film Society (IAFS)

Uruthy (short)

Title in English: Strength

Year of release: 2007

Running time: 42 minutes

Pakkathiveedu (short)

Title in English: The Next Door

Year of release: 2008

Running time: 27 minutes

Vishnu Muralee (Producer)

Vishnu Muralee is a young entrepreneur and film producer who graduated from Canada’s prestigious Trebas Institute. He is the founder and president of Eyecatch Multimedia Inc., a Toronto-based indie film production company that operates in North America and India. One of his primary visions is to bring Indian films to Hollywood. His recent production, A Gun & A Ring, was officially selected for the 16th edition of Shanghai International Film Festival and was also nominated for the prestigious Golden Goblet Award, the highest prize awarded at the festival. Vishnu is currently engaging a project in Chennai which will be a co-production between Canada and India.

Suresh Rohin (Director of Photography)

Suresh Rohin is a North-American cinematographer, who has been in the film industry for more than two decades. With international work experience spanning from Hollywood to Bollywood, and with significant stints in the Middle East, he is one of the most sought-after Directors of Photography today. Practising cinematography as an art rather than a profession, Suresh likes to paint with light. He creates immaculate images whether the light emanates from candle or from floodlights. The quality of his work always remains impeccable. His thorough understanding of both Eastern mysticism and Western pragmatism helps him create cinematic masterpieces that appeal to the audience on a global scale. In A Gun & A Ring, Suresh delivers yet another fabulous piece of work.

Dubravko Naumov (Production Designer & Art Director)

Co-founderof DDN Media Inc, Dubravko is a conceptual thinker and has worked on advertising campaigns as an Art Director in both Europe and Canada. He has also contributed his expertise to the art and camera crews of many feature films, documentaries and television shows. He holds a BA from the Ontario College of Art and Design and is professionally trained as an artist and art director. By creating rich and colourful frames that support the action and capture the attention of the audience, he successfully combines his knowledge and proficiency to increase the production value of projects. In A Gun & Ring, Dubravko played dual role of Production Designer and Art Director.

Pravin Mani (Music Composer)

Pravin Mani has delighted music-lovers around the world with his melodious music. This world renowned musician, singer, and composer has more than 15 feature films ranging from Hollywood to Bollywood, to his credit. Originally from Chennai, India, Pravin Mani moved to Sydney, Australia, in 1990. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Music Business Management from the Australian Institute of Music, and a Masters in Music Production from the School of Audio Engineering, Sydney. Having worked with a number of record companies in Australia including Suburban Voodoo Productions, Virgin, E.M.I, and Sony Music, he secured a worldwide publishing contract with Warner Chappell, Australia. His musical adventure soon brought him to Toronto. Pravin has numerous albums, as well as film and session production credits under his belt. He has worked with the legendary A. R. Rahman on several projects, including the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Pravin’s score for A Gun & A Ring raises the film to an altogether different level.

Jon Berrie (Actor)

Jon Berrie is passion personified. Playing John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, ignited a desire in him to pursue a career in acting. He attended Ryerson’s Theatre School for two years and then expanded into songwriting and singing. Over the years he has depicted a variety of characters in major productions. Jon sees acting as a tool for self-improvement – an ever unfolding learning experience that helps him embrace every moment with zeal and zest. In A Gun & A Ring, Jon plays a dedicated detective who senses doom but disdainfully ignores it, only to learn the bitter truth at the end.

Arthur Simeon (Actor)

Arthur Simeon set out on a voyage from Uganda to Canada with a dream of entertaining the masses. Soon his dream bore fruition when he became a much sought after stand-up comedian. His popularity was confirmed when he made headlines at the ‘Nubian Disciples of Pryor Comedy’ showcase at Yuk Yuks Comedy Club in Toronto. His appearances in the ‘Just For Laughs Festival’, the ‘Halifax Comedy Festival’ for CBC television and the ‘Winnipeg and Cottage Country Comedy Festival’ further ascertained his popularity. Being the ‘Fan Favourite ‘on the hit CBC Radio show ‘The Debaters’ he was invited to appear on the HBO TV show, ‘Funny as Hell’. Arthur was also featured as the cover story in an issue of ‘NOW Magazine’. A Gun & A Ring marks his foray into feature films, where this boisterous comedian plays a subdued Sudanese immigrant who, after encountering personal tragedy, rises up as a mentor to the needy.

Thenuka Kantharajah (Actress)

A renowned Bharatnatyam dancer from Germany, Thenuka learnt the nuances of the classical art at the prestigious Chidambaram Academy of Fine Arts in Chennai, under the tutelage of Padmashri Chitra Visweswaran. She honed her acting skills in Canada where she trained for three years acquiring the latest techniques in film, television and theatre performances. Her interpretation of Aby, a war victim who finds her hopes dashed when she is abandoned by her fiancé on arrival in Canada, is indeed impressive. The meticulous preparation in imbibing the character, which included movement, dialect and accent training, paid off, and the transformation was stunning. One can easily identify with her portrayal of an underdog who rises above her circumstances.

Mahendran Baskar (Actor)

The Tamil French actor, writer, director, television and film producer, Baskar, is best known for playing Manmathan in the sitcom ‘Padalaikku Padalai’, which had over 350 episodes spanning five seasons. Baskar’s first short film ‘Nathi’ (2006) toured many festivals around the world and won him the best actor as well as best director awards. ‘Theeranathi’ marked his first foray into feature films and was premiered in major cities around the world bringing him greater accolades. His stellar career is studded with 12 Best Actor Awards and 6 Best Director Awards. His depiction of the psychologically unhinged Gnanam in A Gun & A Ring is admirable and bound to bring him the appreciation he deserves.

Kandasamy Gangatharan (Actor)

A broadcaster and programme producer par excellence, Kandasamy Gangatharan (or Ganga as he is widely known) has been associated with Canadian Tamil Radio (CTR) since 2008. A well-known figure in the social and literary circles of Toronto, Ganga serves as one of the senior editors and columnists at the monthly journal, ‘Thai Veedu’. His articles on various issues are full of insight and are looked upon as a guiding beacon by his ardent readers. Ganga is also a celebrated film-critic whose passion for cinema pushed him into acting. He captured the imagination of the public with his exceptional performance in the crime thriller Star 67 by Kathi Selvakumar. In A Gun & A Ring, he plays the role of a man who is ostensibly trying to cope with the death of his son, until the skeletons in his cupboard come tumbling out.

Sekar Thambirajah (Actor)

Sekar cut his teeth as an actor while he was a student at the University of Jaffna. He was molded by illustrious masters of modern Tamil theatre including M. Shanmugalingam, S.T. Arasu (Arasaiyah), Francis Jenam, K. Sithamparanathan, and Kandiah Sriganeshan. In the Canadian scene, he has proved his mettle at the arts festival Vanavil and as a cast member of Manaveli Performing Arts Group’s Annual Festival (Arangadal) of Theatre and Dance and Asylum Theatre Group. His credits as an actor include performances in Hellish Heaven, The Land of our Parents, International Slaves, and New World Order. He achieved wide acclaim with his performance in Cheran’s plays ‘What If The Rain Fails’, and ‘Not by our Tears’ directed by Dushy Gnanapragasam. A Gun & A Ring marks his transition from the stage to the screen wherein he gives another brilliant performance as an authoritarian, yet protective, father who tries to manacle his son’s desires, which eventually leads to a disastrous end.

Cast & Crew

Cast

on Berrie

Detective John

Thenuka Kantharajah

Aby

Baskar Mahendran

Gnanam

Mathivasan Seenivasagam

Sornam

Kandasamy Gangatharan

Ariyam

Shelly Antony

Aathi

David Brandon George

George

Sekar Thambirajah

Navam

Arthur Simeon

Abit

Selvajothy Ravindran

Latha

Gobi Thiru

Senthil

Michael Johnson

Detective Peter

Bhavani Somasundaram

Kala

Kiruthika Thusyanthan

Sevanthi

Mayoora Manokararasan

Malar

Thenusha Yogathasan

Meenu

Parthi Puvan

Malar’s boyfriend

Kokilan Maheswaran

Raj

Suthan Mahalingam

Alex

Christine Wall

Shelter Manger

Edward Konzelman

Restaurant Manger

Komeswaran Annalingam

Young Gnanam

Thanujan Nandakumar

One of the boys in the camp

Sarmilan Sivagurunathan

One of the boys in the camp

Malmarugan Rajashivam

One of the boys in the camp

Thushanth Sothinathan

One of the boys in the camp

Laksikan Uthayasooriyan

One of the boys in the camp

Kanthan Annalingam

One of the boys in the camp

Shonna Brown

Jennie

Dubravko Naumou

Restaurant Customer

Mehraban Nasima

Restaurant Customer

Allyson Gough

Restaurant Customer

Jackson Tameke

Restaurant Customer

D’souza Savio

Restaurant Customer

Ramkrishnan Muralee

Restaurant Customer

Kiruthika Thusyanthan

Restaurant Customer

Pakkiriswamy Dilip Kumar

Gang Member

Muralitharan Nathan

Gang Member

Gugaruban Kashiyanthan

Gang Member

Kanthavel Denesh

Gang Member

Sribalashanmugan Sangarathas

Gang Member

Amirthanath Sribala

Gang Member

Srikatherajah Mayuran

Gang Member

Ruben Avila

Gang Member

Sutha Shan

Gang Member

Rob Duckworth

Restaurant Waiter

Manokaran Arjun

Restaurant Waiter

William Andrew Patterson

Jewellery store salesman

Emdy Jones

Chef

Ramesh Selladurai

Chef

 

Crew

Written & Directed by

Lenin M. Sivam

Produced by

Vishnu Muralee

Executive Producers

Sabesan Jeyarajasingam

Mukunda Muralee

Line Producer

Senthil Vinu

Associate Producers

Hemo Arumaithurai

Ramkrishnan Muralee

Gobi Thiru

Production Manager

Ramesh Selladurai

Director of Photography

Suresh Rohin

Film Editor

Pras Lingam

Music Composer

Pravin Mani

Production Designer

Dubravko Naumov

Casting Director

Sutha Shan

Key Make-up Artist

Alyson Gough

Visual Effects Artist

Fofo Gavua

Costume Designer

Sutha Shan

Production Sound Mixer

Jeffery Magat

Sound Designer

Jean Luc Paradise

First Assistant Director

Nimalan Balachandran

Second Assistant Director

Mayoora Manokararasan

Production Stills

Gobi Thiru (Vision Fotos)

Kajanth Nithiyananthan (King Pictures)

Makeup Department

Alyson Gough (Key Make-up Artist)

Narmatha Kanagasabai (Assistant Make-up Artist)

Art Department

Dubravko Naumov (Art Director)

Gobi Thiru (Property master)

Sutha Shan (Assistant art director)

Junior Thomas (Set Dresser)

Gregory McEvoy (Storyboard Artist)

James Sled (Gun Wrangler)

Sound Department

Jean Luc Paradise (Postproduction Sound Mixer)

Jeffery Magat (Production Sound Mixer)

Daniel Ariaratnam (Boom operator)

Art Pisanski (Boom operator)

Camera, Electrical and Grip Department

Sabesan Jeyarajasingam (Camera operator: “A” camera)

Pras Lingam (Camera operator: “B” camera)

Arjun Manokaran (First Camera Assistant: “A” camera)

Rob Duckworth (First Camera Assistant: “B” camera)

Emdy Jones (Key Grip)

Ruben Avila (Best boy – Electrical)

Sutharsannan Jeganathan (Best boy – Grip)

Sathiyatheepan Satkuru (Crane Operator)

Ramkrishnan Muralee (Digital Imaging Technician)

Editorial Department

John Lipsz (Colorist)

Nivethan Nandakumar (Assistant editor)

Transportation Department

Gobi Thiru (Transportation Coordinator)

Arun Sivakumaran(Transportation Captain)

Other crew

Hemo Arumaithurai (Location manager)

Mayoora Manokararasan (Script Supervisor)

Script Reviewers

Dilani Deb

Sutha Shan

Zhivago M. Sivam

Agiilan Thadchanamoorthy

Christy Thambirajah

Senthil Vinu

Script advisors

Chandra Siddan

Cheran Rudhramoorthy

Sornalingam Vairamuthu

Song Credits

“Jaffna Town” by Bhi Bhiman from the album “The CookBook”

Copyrighted (c) 2012 BOOCOO MUSIC LLC

“Mojo Hand Blues” by Ida Cox

Singers Ida Cox V. with Jesse Crump, p

Composed by Jesse Crump

Public Domain

A Gun & A Ring
India

Story

Synopses

1-Line Synopsis

Lives of seemingly ordinary people clash and change forever in interlocking stories of guilt, passion and courage.

Small Synopsis

A Gun & A Ring explores the emotional burden Tamil Canadians bear as they rebuild their lives in an adopted land while fighting off pasts framed by violence, death and war in Sri Lanka. Random acts prove to be fateful coincidences, that lead to deadly consequences for some and hopeful beginnings for others.

Medium Synopsis 

A Gun & A Ring explores the intertwined stories of seemingly ordinary and unrelated people over a two-week period in Toronto, Canada. A troubled young man, Gnanam, tries to confront his dark past that he had hoped to leave behind; a passionate detective, John, questions his integrity after making a fateful call; a closeted gay teen, Aathi, blames his tradition-bound father for his lover’s suicide; a widower, Sornam, is too preoccupied with helping his community to protect his daughter from harm; a grieving father, Ariyam, who questions his immigrant life in Canada after the tragic death of his only son, is forced to confront his own past that shows up at his door looking for revenge; and a courageous young war survivor, Aby, arrives in Canada looking for a fresh start only to find that she has been abandoned by her fiancé at the airport. The film delves deeper into the harsh realities faced by different generations of immigrants as they attempt to rebuild their lives in adopted lands under the weight of emotional baggage from their past.

Long Synopsis

The movie begins with a memory. Gnanam is a young man with a difficult past. As a youth, he was a rebel cadre training in India. Under intense interrogation by “The Butcher”, he divulges the plan made by his friends to escape the detested camp, and, in return, was granted freedom and a passageway to Canada. Years later, living in Toronto, Gnanam is a tortured soul – overly anxious and prone to violence which drives his wife away. Gnanam is angry at the world, his nights racked by guilt and painful memories. However, when he spots The Butcher, the man who still haunts his dreams years later in Toronto, he fervently sets out to exact his revenge and make everything right again.

In stark contrast to Gnanam is Sornam, a community leader. Sornam idolizes his wife, who passed up her chance to move to Canada to instead remain in Sri Lanka and help her people survive the war. Sornam is the type of man others seek help from and in his passionate attempts to help his community he loses sight of his primary concern – the safety of his young daughter, Meenu. However, someone is paying attention to her in his absence – a pedophile murderer hunting for his next victim.

Tracking down this monster for more than three years is detective John. A man committed to his job of protecting the public, John makes numerous personal sacrifices in the line of duty. Used to leading with his heart and not his head, John does not heed the advice of his partner and makes a critical decision to use Meenu as bait to trap the killer. Believing he is prepared to live with the consequences, he also chooses not to inform Meenu’s father of the imminent danger his daughter is in. He lays down his fateful trap and waits.

One of the people Sornam tries to help is Aby, a young war survivor with a sad past. Having witnessed the death of her loved ones in Sri Lanka, she arrives in Canada for a fresh start – an arranged marriage to a Tamil Canadian man, who ends up abandoning her at the airport. Aby is forced to stay at the home of the relatives who arranged her marriage and who desperately try to ensure the union succeeds. Unable to cope with her extended family’s pressure tactics and ignorance, Aby decides to register herself in a shelter where she meets Abit, a war victim like herself, but from Sudan. Aby slowly realizes that she has much more in common with Abit than with her community of Tamil Canadians and a beautiful new possibility opens up.

Ariyam, an aging man, and his wife struggle to understand the death of their son who committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in the nearby park. Ariyam chooses to deal with the loss by immersing himself in his job, working as a dishwasher as many new immigrants do. However, he is constantly reminded of their tragedy by his wife who slowly sinks into depression. Ariyam withdraws even further in an effort to forget, but as he tries to a find way out, his dark past shows up at his door, giving him an opportunity to release his anger and frustration.

Aathi receives devastating news – his lover has been found dead, having hung himself from a tree in a park. Aathi is a bright young man who lives with his tradition-bound father. While Aathi has lived up to his father’s expectations in many ways, he has failed miserably in one aspect – he is a homosexual which his father refuses to accept. Aathi believes him choosing his father over his lover led to the latter committing suicide. He chooses to deal with this guilt in silence, brooding over his loss and his father’s expectations, until he can no longer control his emotions.

The story reaches its climax as these different characters decide to take action in their own ways. Connected by a gun and a ring, one that symbolizes a dark and violent past while the other symbolizes hope and renewal, these characters’ lives intersect as some reconcile with their loss and pain, and others try to seek redemption.

Production Notes

Executive producer Sabesan Jeyarajasingam found an interesting email waiting for him in his inbox in 2011. The email was from one of his long-time associates, emerging Canadian filmmaker Lenin M. Sivam, with whom he had collaborated on the award-winning feature film, 1999.

The email from Sivam contained the script for a new film that he had worked on around the clock for the five preceding weeks. Jeyarajasingam found the story of survivors of Sri Lanka’s war trying to rebuild their lives in Canada to be both interesting and moving. He worked with Lenin to tighten up the script and then brought in young Montreal-based entrepreneur Vishnu Muralee who decided to produce the film under his banner, Eyecatch Multimedia.

The film shooting began on May 19th 2012, on the third anniversary of the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka – one of the bloodiest and least reported armed conflicts in the recent history.

Recognizing that almost everyone involved were working full-time, shooting was restricted to two weeks with everyone using their vacation time to work on the film. The shooting ran for 14 straight days without respite with about 40 crew members, a cast of 50 principal actors and extras from Canada and Europe; filming took place at over 52 script locations. Anticipating the tight schedule, Suresh Rohin, the Director of Photography, recommended that the film be shot with two cameras to save time. Given the limited budget of the film, two RED Ones were simply unaffordable and the decision was made to film with two Si-2Ks instead.

Post-production of the film finally wrapped up in April 2013, and on May 20th 2013 Sivam announced its world premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival in June 2013.

Background

The film portrays ethnic Tamils from Sri Lanka, part of a community of over 250,000 who are now domiciled in Canada. Many of these immigrants harbour painful memories of the country they left behind in which a brutal and violent civil war was waged for nearly three decades, drawing to a bloody conclusion in 2009. The war resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties and an exodus of Tamils who sought refuge in Canada, India, Australasia, and many parts of Europe. Since the 1980s, Canada has seen a steady stream of Tamil refugees arriving at its shores, including the “boat people” as some have derisively called them. Even though language was a barrier, many Tamils began the difficult task of re-constructing their shattered lives. They often settled into menial jobs trying to balance the demands of daily life while attempting to recover from the trauma of separation and loss. Over a period of nearly 30 years, the Tamil Canadian community has worked hard and continues to move up the socioeconomic ladder. Yet, regardless of whatever success it has achieved so far, the community continues to be affected by the causal trauma of loss which it often expresses in public and private spaces.



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A Gun & A Ring
France

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