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Arugam bay

Sri Lanka happily welcomed Israeli film production house United Channel Movies (UCM) to the country to shoot its latest feature film ‘Arugam Bay’ on Sri Lanka’s east coast. With shooting completed in the month of May, the cast and crew filmed at various locations in Colombo, Ella, and Arugam Bay, as well as in Tel Aviv, Israel, with Arugam Bay obviously in the spotlight. Once complete, ‘Arugam Bay’ is expected to be screened in Israel and over 50 countries across Europe.

Directed by Marco Carmel renowned for his film work, features Israeli actors Maor Schwitzer, Yedin Gellman, Joy Reiger and Mira Tzur as the cast among the many local Sri Lankan actors that were part of the production.

‘Arugam Bay’ is the story of a group of childhood friends from Israel, all surfers in the same commando unit in the Israeli army, who visit Sri Lanka to heal from a traumatic experience. However, as they visit Sri Lanka to live out the last wishes of a dear friend who had passed, and as they try to process their grief against the calm backdrop of the waves of Arugam Bay, they grapple with unforeseen circumstances forcing them to face their demons in unexpected ways.

Second unit director and co-scriptwriter for the project Mor Polanuer shared her thoughts that Sri Lanka was significant to their story most notably due to its relationship with Israel and the Israeli people. “Israeli and Sri Lankan culture and energy are very different, and I think that is why Israelis are attracted to Sri Lanka. Because Israel is a very intense place, whereas Sri Lankans are just chill; there is a big contrast,” she said.

Commenting further Polanuer also said: “I wrote this script with Marco (Marco Camal, the film’s director and Polanuer’s husband), but it is Marco’s project completely, his entire being is in this project. When he started surfing he started exploring surfing spots and found Sri Lanka and completely fell in love. He visited Sri Lanka twice a year and it became his second home. When he was here he met a lot of ex-soldiers from Israel, and their stories touched him, which is when he began to tell the story of Israel and the meaning of being Israeli through Sri Lanka. Sometimes when you take something red and you put it against a green background you see its redness more, and so Sri Lanka was just the perfect contrast to emphasize their message.” The film discusses the post-trauma and the complexities of being an Israeli, especially joining the army at a young age, when you’re still almost a kid at age 18. Polanuer noted that while the story was Israeli, it had a universal message that was relatable to all – the need to escape, and the search for a safe haven. Noting that Israeli films were primarily very realistic, Polanuer however said that this film was a drama with a lot of fun action sequences paired with a very sensitive and emotional narrative, which was sure to be a fun cinematic experience for audiences.