Celluloid Shoot

September 30, 2011 (AFP) – Once a location of choice for directors shooting World War II classics and big 1980s adventure films, Sri Lanka is hoping to make a comeback on the movie trail as it emerges from civil war. Since the island’s bloody conflict ended in May 2009, the government has been trying to promote a new image focusing on its elegant colonial buildings, tropical jungles and golden beaches.

Post-war ethnic reconciliation is still far from certain after the Tamil Tiger militants were brutally crushed, but there are signs that international studios are again looking to Sri Lanka as a film location.

“Midnight’s Children”, the screen adaptation by director Deepa Mehta of Salman Rushdie’s 1981 Booker prize-winning novel, was completed in Sri Lanka earlier this year.

The project was shrouded in secrecy to avoid protests by religious groups angered by Rushdie’s work, and future films will hope for an easier experience after shooting was suspended at one stage on government orders.

Sri Lanka’s next major foreign film is tipped to be “Toomai of the Elephants”, an adaptation of a story from Rudyard Kipling’s “Jungle Book”, starring former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and veteran Omar Sha