By Callum MACRAE

CINEPHIL - as SALES All rights, World

Documentary - Completed 2013

The film tells the terrible narrative of the last 138 days, the last awful final months, with dramatic new testimony and evidence, of the 26-year-long Sri Lankan civil war, told by the people who lived through it

& Awards

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013
Movies that matter 2013
FIFDH Geneva 2013
Festival des Libertés 2013
Winner, FIDH Award
CPH:DOX 2013
Jury Special Mention Award
Grierson Awards 2013
(Best Documentary on Current Affairs)
Watch Docs 2013
Winner, Audience Award
One World 2014
Winner, Vaclav Havel Jury Special Mention
    • Year of production
    • 2013
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Duration
    • 93 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Callum MACRAE
    • Producer(s)
    • Zoe SALE
    • Synopsis
    • The film – with dramatic new testimony and evidence – tells the terrible narrative of the last 138 days of this awful war. Just five years ago, in January 2009, the government of Sri Lanka launched its final offensive against the secessionist rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, better known as the Tamil Tigers. Two weeks into the assault the government declared the first "No Fire Zone" and encouraged between 300,000 and 400,000 Tamil civilians to gather there, for their own safety. The government then launched a deadly, sustained and deliberate shelling campaign on this and subsequent zones. The story of what happened next is told in vivid detail by our central characters. The suffering of the trapped civilians was terrible – and recorded on a day to day basis on small cameras and mobile phones. Makeshift hospitals set up in abandoned schools were targeted and civilians denied adequate food and medicine by the government. The agony of the trapped civilians was compounded by the Tigers who refused to let them leave – and shot some who tried. One UN report estimated that as many as 40,000 died in just a few weeks. A more recent UN report suggested the death toll could reach 70,000 or even more. The government believed they would get away with this because they had excluded international witnesses from the war zone. But there were witnesses: The people who were trapped there. Their extraordinary testimony and incredible footage is at the heart of this film, and has been carefully and meticulously assembled to create a terrifying and compelling account. Then in the final days of the war another terrifying series of atrocities and war crimes were committed by Sri Lankan soldiers against captured fighters. Crimes of torture, execution and sexual violence – all filmed as grotesque war trophies by the perpetrators themselves. This unique television film brings together the latest evidence to emerge from these terrible days. And then it brings to story up to date describing how – in this apparently idyllic holiday island - the repression of the Tamils, the suppression of any government critics, the disappearances and the violence continues.