White Van Stories

White Van Stories is a documentary by Indian filmmaker Leena Manimekalai for Channel 4 on the long history of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka. It interviews people who have lost their families and how they cope with the trauma and tragedy and how they move all along with their life. It also covers about their protest to know about what happened to their relatives.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

White Van Stories
Genre Documentary
Directed by Leena Manimekalai
Running time 120 Minutes
Original network Channel 4

Leena filmed the historical protests of the families of the disappeared in Jaffna and Colombo who were asking for justice, truth and reparation, declaring “No Peace” until their loved ones return. And She followed seven women who shared their stories across the east, south and north provinces. Access was incredibly challenging. North of Sri Lanka is heavily militarized and this is a story that had been largely impenetrable to the media as enforced disappearances also include journalists who are considered even slightly critical of state and its policies. Ultimately the film had to be made under severe vigilance and intimidation by the Lankan military. On one occasion Leena was asked to leave the country and on another detained for hours of questioning at a check post where they confiscated her tapes and denied her permission to film. The premiere of White Van Stories was broadcast on Channel 4.

“The making of White Van Stories was not a scripted journey. It was rather mystical. Maybe my constant urge to tell stories that otherwise had been forgotten pointed me towards that direction.”[9]

Leena Manimekalai about her documentary White Van Stories on Channel 4

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  1. “White Van Stories – reporting on Sri Lanka’s disappeared”. Channel 4. 14 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  2. “White Van Stories: Sri Lanka’s ‘disappeared’ – video”. Channel 4. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  3. “White Van Stories To Air Across UK, US And Australia”. Colombo Telegraph. 13 October 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  4. “Documentary Following the vanishing van”. Nandini Ramnath. LiveMint. 12 April 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  5. “White Van Stories: a Film by Leena Manimekalai”. .salem-news.com. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  6. “Families of disappeared living slow death under state terror: Leena Manimekalai”. Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  7. “Documentary on forced disappearances in Sri Lanka to be shown today”. Fazeena Saleem. The Peninsula. 26 October 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  8. “Capturing Human Devastation”. Shevlin Sebastian. New Indian Express. 5 March 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  9. White Van’s- Interview – Leena Manimekalai. channel4.com.

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