Drift New wave on Next Generation TV | Sunday Observer

Drift New wave on Next Generation TV

The implications of this next generation television - Netflix and iflix have almost become the giants in the entertainment industry and go well beyond the absurdity of complaints that "There’s nothing on TV"

Over the last two decades, we’ve seen all forms of media, information and entertainment migrate to the internet. Yet television has been the lone holdout, because the technology to deliver television in a scalable and reliable way just wasn’t mature enough, until now.

Today, with the rise of internet streaming entertainment has torn up television schedules and destabilized the traditional international movie industry too.

The implications of this next generation television - Netflix and iflix have almost become the giants in the entertainment industry and go well beyond the absurdity of complaints that "There’s nothing on TV". This new generation TV has opened the doors especially for the young to showcase their creations with no restrictions, worldwide. Although these internet streaming entertainment platforms are still new to local audiences, a few Sri Lankan filmmakers already have stepped onto these platforms and showcase their productions to the international and local audiences.

Debut web series

‘Drift’, the debut web series by Pasan Wijesignhe is now on iflix. In an interview with Youth Observer, Pasan said, “This was absolutely a dream come true and although I have been involved with the creative industry for some time now, becoming a filmmaker was always my dream and on top of my list of aspirations,”

‘Drift’ is a story about a 26-year-old young boy named Charith, a software developer who becomes a ‘random tester’ being used by augmented reality technology and who gets sucked into a simulation world through a video game. The story evolves through his strange journey stuck in artificial reality and his struggle to get out of it and comeback to the real world.

“I'll expand the storyline. A group of software developers invent a chip which can be injected to the spinal cord that connects to your nerve system and that projects the game system to your retina. So whoever has been injected with that chip will see in artificial reality created by the video game. The entire series is based on Charith's journey. He becomes a ‘random tester’ of this video game and gets stuck in an artificial reality. The harder he tries to escape from the game the more he gets stuck in it. Metaphorically, it’s very much similar to the socio-political system that we live in. The more we try to get rid of it, the more we get stuck in it. This is the philosophical line I wanted to bring out in ‘Drift’, which I think has come out well,” Pasan said.

The first season of ‘Drift’ consisted of ten episodes. According to Pasan, ‘Drift’ does not fall into a particular genre but can be identified as a mix of genres - sci-fi, thriller, crime and drama. “I didn’t want to fix it into one genre and I’m sure ‘Drift’ is a whole new experience for Sri Lankan audiences irrespective of age limits.

“When I started writing the script I actually didn’t have an idea how the story was going to end. I wanted to bring out a few social issues which I was concerned about. However these are not prominent in the main narrative but if someone’s keen to read its subtexts in detail, it will surely connect the dots,”he said

Although ‘Drift’ is a tech-oriented story, Pasan avoided using much graphics and VFX effects because he thought it’s not that necessary and also due to financial constraints, he had to limit his imagination. “When we build a script, there’s actually no constrains for our imagination. So we write the way we want. The real problem arises when it comes to transforming our imagination into the visual. Irrespective of whether you are a veteran or a mature artiste, nowadays, it’s every artiste’s nightmare to find sufficient funds to create a production. However, our thinking has to be smart enough to find an artistic form to transfer our imagination to visual form economically. Although the Sri Lankan cinema industry is booming, it’s not easy to release young artistes’ productions into the current system. The new generation entertainment platforms are the best modes to showcase young filmmakers’ creations and this will soon be the future of cinema in the country as well as the world,” he said.

The process

“Without Hasitha, ‘Drift’ wouldn’t have come to light. Hasitha is one of my good friends and he’s the one who introduced me to the Dialog team who initially sponsored‘Drift’. It is always fun to work with people with similar aspirations in life. 'Drift’ was a huge challenge and learning experience for all of us who were involved in its production and we are really happy and proud as we’ve made it to iflix. I must thank Sahan Wickramarachchi - Director of Photography, Sahan Ranjaka – Assistant Director, Samadi Akash – Art Director, Mananuwan Rupasinghe – Makeup, Yashoda Dhanupama – Colourgrading/VFX and post production and the cast Biyanka Amarasinghe, Saasha Karunaratne, Sankha B, Thulara Bethmage, Thilakshini Ratnayake, Ezra Naotunna, Sahan Ranjaka and Oshadi Pieris. Without their support ‘Drift’ wouldn’t have been possible,”he concluded.

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