Jude Ratnam worked for NGO before becoming a filmmaker. He obtained a degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Kamaraj in southern India, before studying cinema at the School of Media Art and Managment in Sri Lanka.
In 2006, he left his post at the NGO, no longer able to bear the hypocrisy of a job consisting in preaching reconciliation while civil war still raged, and the country was violently divided and impoverished. He spent months thinking about how to reach the greatest number of people in an intimate yet political way. How could he tap intothe emotions as well as the minds of his compatriots? His love for cinema suddenly made it seem obvious: He had to make films. It was this intuition that gave him the courage to commit to a project for 10 years, despite the risks involved. He trained and had the backing of a French team (his co-writer Isabelle Marina introduced him to the producer Julie Paratian), along with some Tamil and Sinhalese partners, since his aim was to put into practice a dialog of reconciliation during the actual shoot. On his way, he met some key gures who each, in their own way, gave him the strength to carry on: Tue Steen Muller, director of European Documentary Network; Ally Derks of the IDFA BERTHA FUND; Raoul Peck, president of the Fémis film school, when he attended the ARCHIDOC workshop; director Rithy Panh, his inspiration; the founder of ARTE’s Documentary Unit, Thierry Garrel; and Christian Jeune and Thierry Frémaux, who selected his film for the Festival de Cannes. Jude Ratnam is also a film critic and cofounder of the Colombo Film Circle, and manager of the KRITI-A Work of Art production company, which coproduced Demons In Paradise. He is currently working on some new film projects in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka 1983, Jude Ratnam is five years old. On a red train, he flees the massacre of the Tamils instigated by the Pro-Sinhalese majoritarian government. Now a filmmaker, he takes the same train from South to North.