Burning Birds


Additional Film Info

Davena Vihagun ( දැවෙන විහගුන් )
France, Sri Lanka, Qatar, The Netherlands 2016
84 min, Sinhala
DCP, color, 1:85

Synopsis & Trailer

After an illegal militant group kills her husband, ordinary housewife Kusum does anything to support her eight children and her mother-in-law. However, there is not only a huge amount of work to do for a poor and powerless working class widow, but she also has to endure the contempt and surliness of a male-oriented society. She finally loses the last vestiges of dignity when she is driven to prostitution and in the end, she makes a truly extreme choice.

picture1Sanjeewa Pushpakumara born on 05th May 1977 in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in 2005. In 2008, he obtained his Master’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Kelaniya. Sanjeewa pursued a diploma in filmmaking at the Sri Lanka National Film Corporation in 2006.  In 2014 he obtained his advanced degree (Master of Fine Arts) in film-making from the Chung-Ang University in South Korea as a Korean Government Scholarship Holder (KGSP). In 2009,  Sanjeewa was selected to the Asian Film Academy of Busan International Film Festival. He participated in Berlin Talent Campus in 2012.

Sanjeewa’s first feature film, Flying Fish (Igillena Maluwo) received post-production support from the Hubert Bals Fund of International Film Festival Rotterdam. Subsequently,  Flying Fish world premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam and was nominated for the Tiger Award. The film garnered many accolades and the film was invited to more than 30 international film festivals around the world.  In 2012, Sanjeewa was invited to Paris by Cinéfondation of Cannes Film Festival to its Résidence programme to develop his second feature film, Burning Birds (Davena Vihagun). The film received production support from Doha Film Institute and post-production support from Hubert Bals Fund and Cinema du Monde (CNC) In 2014,Biennale College – Cinema of Venice Film Festival invited Sanjeewa to Venice to develop his third film project Peacocks’ Lament. Currently, Peacocks Lament is in advanced script development stage.

Directors, Producers and Crew

Anoma Janadari ( as Kusum)
Samanalee Fonseka (as Wasana)
Mahendra Perera (as Owner of Slaughter House)
Chandani Senavirathne (as Sumana)
Leonie Kotalawala (as Mother in Law / Grandmother)
Pubudu Chathuranga (as Owner of Brothel House)
Thissa Bandaranayaka (as Principal)
Priyanka Samaraweera (as Wife of School principal / Teacher)
Shyam Fernando (as Paramilitary Leader)
Sanjeewa Dissanayake (as Father)
Maheesha Nethara (as Nisha)

Director: Sanjieewa Pushpakumara
Producers: Antonin Dedet ,Sanjeewa Pushpakumara
Director of photography: Kalinga Deshapriya
Editors: Ajith Ramanayake, Katharina Wartena
Music: R.Abaji, Philip David Sheppard
Traditional Sri Lankan Folk songs composer: Jithendra Vidyapathy
Singers: Sriya Kariyawasam, Nipuni Saradha
Make Up: Priyantha Dissanayaka
Art director: Piyathissa Akurambada
Costume Designer: Ajantha Alahakoon
Assistant Director: Aruna Thilakarathne
2nd Assistant Director: Niroshan Edirimanna
3rd Assistant Directors: Sumithra Nisa Ekanayaka, Mahesh Indika
Production Manager: Harald Karunathilaka
Sound Engineer: Aruna Priyantha Kaluarchchi, Nicolas D'halluin
Color grading: Elie Akoka
Development & production assistant: Sophie Mauger
Script Editor: Jacques Akchoti


21st Busan International Film Festival, 2016 – New Currents Competition - (Nominated) Best Film

17th International Film Festival Tokyo FILMeX, 2016 – (Winner) Special Jury Prize (the 2nd Prize)

46th International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2017 – Bright Future Competition

40th Göteborg Film Festival,2017 – Ingmar Bergman Competition -(Nominated)The Ingmar Bergman Award

15th International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva (FIFDH)- (Winner) Best Film (Grand Prix)

15th International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva (FIFDH)- (Winner) Youth Jury Award

27th African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival in Milan(FCAAAL)-(Nominated) - Best Film

Asian World Film Festival - Best Actress