Sengadal is the first full length feature film of Leena Manimekalai, who also stars in the film.
Sengadal the Dead Sea is enacted by the real fishermen and refugees from Dhanushkodi and Rameshwaram Mandapam camp. All the supporting artistes are from Kidathirukai Therukoothu team and the film captures the fragments of their simple lives beaten by three decade long ethnic war in Sri Lanka.
Produced by Janaki Sivakumar under the banner of Tholpaavai Theatres, Sengadal the Dead Sea was one of the recipients of Prestigious Production Grant by Global Film Initiative (GFI) for the year 2010.
The film was then officially selected in the competition sections of 32nd Durban International Film Festival, 35th World Montreal Film festival, and in 13th International Mumbai Film Festival respectively. And it has won NAWFF Award at Tokyo as the best Asian Woman film of the year 2011.
Ms. Navi Pillai, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who watched the film at Durban appreciated the uncompromising voice of the film and took it as a witness of the human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan Navy on the Indian Fishermen at the international maritime border off the shores of Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi. She has committed necessary intervention along with her UN Investigations on the genocide committed on Lankan Tamils by Sri Lankan Government.
Sengadal the Dead Sea was also the only Tamil film chosen for Indian Panorama , 2011.
This people participatory film dealing Tamil fishermen issue was presented at International Film festivals at Goa, Kerala, Israel, Beijing, Taiwan and Seoul International Film Festivals. It is the only Tamil film, released with Korean, Japanese, Mandarin and French subtitles in the respective countries.
And certainly, it is a moment to celebrate freedom of expression as the film had suffered the worst censorship struggles for several months, for its political critique until the Appellate Tribunal’s intervention in July 2011.
After winning its months-long legal battle with the Regional Central Board of Film Certification and the Appellate Tribunal Authorities over the ban on public exhibition, Sengadal the Dead Sea emerged with an “A” certification, without any cuts.