Ashley in a virtual jury | Daily News

Ashley in a virtual jury

Ashley Ratnavibhushana has added immense value to Sri Lankan cinema for decades as a cinema journalist, review writer, editor of a cinema magazine and by participating as a jury member in a handful of local and international film festivals.

Ratnavibhushana is the President of the Asian Film Centre and the Executive Director and Jury Coordinator of the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema (NETPAC).

In October this year Ashley was part of the elite team of virtual jury members in the seventh edition of the ‘Silk Road International Film Festival’ held in China. The festival was held in October 11 in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, the ancient Silk Road's starting point.

The ‘Silk Road International Film Festival’ aims at discovering new filmmakers and projects. The film fest provides an international platform for film exchange and trade and promotes cultural exchange and cooperation between China and the countries and regions along the routes of the Belt and Road initiative.

Speaking to the Daily News, Ashley said, “This time around the organizers made emphasis on online jury decisions. The Covid-19 pandemic prevailing in the world confined all jury members to their homes and we watched films online. Thus we called it a virtual jury. As jury members we had limited sessions via Zoom to evaluate the films and make decisions. In a way it is good to evolve and adopt to situations that are beyond our control as a cinema personnel.

Though it was a virtual jury, the festival catalogue was printed as has been the practice. The host country, China announced the winners.”

Ashley also talked about the pros and cons of having a virtual jury.

“Although jury members were able to watch the films while being at home, it was not easy to evaluate the quality of a film by watching it online. We as jury members are used to watch films on the wide screen with digital sound projections, enjoying escapism”, he said.

He added, “If the Covid-19 situation is not controlled, it will be a major blow to world cinema and film festivals. All these events will be kept at bay which would affect the glamour factor in cinema. The time has come to harp on innovations in terms of cinema”.