Honoured at AIFFA in Malaysia
Globally renowned Sri Lankan filmmaker Chandran Rutnam was recently honoured with a special award by the ASEAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL & AWARDS (AIFFA) in Kuching, Sarawak recently. Chandran Rutnam was honoured in recognition of his distinguished service to the Malaysian and Sarawak film industry throughout the years.
He is credited to have brought numerous Hollywood films to Malaysia for location shooting. Among such films were: FAREWELL TO THE KING starring Nick Nolte and Nigel Hagers, SLEEPING DICTIONARY starring Jesica Alba and Bob Hoskins, FIFTY/ FIFTY starring Robert Hayes, Peter Weller and Ramona Rahman, BEYOND RANGOON starring Patricia Arquette, INDOCHINE starring Catherine Deneuve, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, PARADISE ROAD starring Glenn Close and France’s Mcdormand. Chandran also had the distinction of leading the Malaysian delegation to the Cannes Film Festival. Chandran was a 16-year-old school boy when David Lean arrived in Sri Lanka in 1957 to shoot his second world war epic ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’. The film production had hired a house belonging to his parents for a location set and Chandran had hung out at the sets volunteering odd jobs until finally he was hired as a stand-by props assistant and a gofer for the film crew. Showing his early skills at public relations and being friendly with all the cast and crew on the film set, he had also befriended among others the main star William Holden, who had spent his down time with him chatting about the film business. Chandran later went to London to pursue his dream of a career in films; he later moved to Los Angeles and attended the film school at the University of Southern California and the San Fernando Valley College of Law. While working in the Hollywood studios, Chandran’s big break in selling Sri Lankan locations to international filmmakers came when he managed to convince John Derek, the director of ‘Tarzan the Apeman’ in 1980 to shoot the entire film starring his wife Bo Derek in Sri Lanka rather than Africa. His film locations services company started with a big bang! He was so successful and had impressed both the Dereks so much that eight years later they both returned to shoot ‘Ghosts Can’t Do it’ in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In that movie, even US President Donald Trump had a cameo role in one scene, and according to Chandran, they had to shoot that particular scene twice just to get it right.