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16 October 2014

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Life After Life

By Nimal Tennakoon
October 2002, Cardiff
A digital story from Capture Wales

From Fleeing to Friendship

Nimal was a film maker in Sri Lanka but had to flee to Wales when threats were made against his life. Nimal portrays his daughter's relationship with their health worker and the hope he has for his family's future here.

"We came to Cardiff with our lives but without life. My name is Nimal Tennakoon. I was a film director and writer. I married a famous actress - Mangala Kararadne. I always used this visual media for giving knowledge to people to help them think.

During the Civil War, I travelled all over the war-scene and made a documentary about the people's agony and I created the first tele-drama on ethnic issues. That was the first time my life was threatened. But it was my film that exposed how politicians are in the heroin drugs trade. That took my life from me.

After a first screening a political storm came to claim our lives.
One night it attacked us physically and mentally destroying everything. We had serious struggle to be alive and escape from the country.
This is our re-incarnation. We have met very kind human beings - time has travelled past.

When my elder daughter started school, my younger daughter was very upset. She felt very lonely. One day (sound of knocks on the door).

"Hello there. I'm Vicky Gunter, the family health worker from Sure-Start. I've come to see you all. Is it alright if I come in?"
"Yes, come in please."
"Thank you."
From the beginning Dulani was afraid of Vicky but she managed to get closer to her.
"Hello. How are you? I'm Vicky, Vicky. And what's your name?"
"Dulani. OK, Dulani. Can you see what I've got. Yes. There, there."
"What's this colour... Red... red."

Vicky and Dulani began to play, speaking their own languages. Within one hour they became very good friends.
When Vicky was ready to go, Dulani was very upset. She ran to the front door and blocked it. When Vicky went to leave, Dulani grabbed her legs and began...
That is the only English word she knew. I realise children don't see any colour, race, culture or country. This world belongs to them. That is the beginning of real global village. I feel happy because our future will be secure."

Nimal Tennakoon

Please tell us about yourself.
Before I left Sri Lanka I was a film director and writer. My wife was also an actress. I have been in the film industry for 20 years and I have worked on many productions.

What's your story about?
My daughter is two and a half years old and my story is about her friendship and the family health worker that visits us. Even though they speak different languages, there is a strong relationship between them.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
I am interested in human relationships and this relationship is the future of our world.

What was the experience of making your digital story like?
It was a valuable experience. I had a great time.

Your comments

"Fleeing political oppression and finding new lives, hope and relationships in a new country; the subject strikes near and dear to my heart. This story brought a tear to my eye. I am very happy that the Tennakoon family is doing so well." Kenric A. Kite, Vermont, USA.

"This a marvellous story which is reflects the fact that people can live together in a peaceful way because that is the nature of the human beings. Nimal is a talented man with great experience and I know him very well. I would like to say to him you are wonderful." Maaz Ibrahim, UK Cardiff, Wales.

"I was curious to find out about digital storytelling, and this was a great example. This story has taken me into a real Welsh home, and a real Sri-Lankan family, and made the world a smaller place. wonderful concept, thank you." Lee Duncan, The Channon, Australia.

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