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Local Geniuses make it to World Top 6 in Paris

Sri Lankan Team Genes/Pictures to do the country proud as they compete at the Microsoft Imagine Cup world final in July

Sri Lankan Team Genes/Pictures


Team Gènès|pictures’ comprising of Buddhika Perera, Malika Fernando, Gimantha Aponso, and Salinga Kodikara, keep the Sri Lankan flag flying high at Imagine Cup 2008, France.

Once again, the Sri Lankan flag flies high at the Imagine Cup 2008, as Lankan ‘Team Gènès|pictures’,  made it through to the final six teams at the worldwide competition! The Imagine Cup 2008, to be held from the 3rd – 8th of July in Paris, France, challenges these students to share their perspective on this year’s theme ‘Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment’ via the use of digital media. This year’s ‘Imagine Cup’ attracted over 170,000 registrations (for all nine categories) from over 100 countries across the world.

The Sri Lankan team joins the five other finalist teams, ‘Team Circle’- Taiwan, ‘Team Lava Lamp’ – Mexico, ‘Team NEIP’ - Korea, ‘Team OTTOMANS’ – Turkey and ‘Team Robotree from Canada, to compete at the grand final. The proud Lankan team comprises two students from the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), Buddhika Perera and Malika Fernando, Gimantha Aponso from Tec Sri Lanka and Salinga Kodikara from the National Institute of Technical Education Sri Lanka.

Sriyan de Silva Wijeyratne, Country Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka said, “With Microsoft Imagine Cup we have set in place a tradition of thinking out of the box. And I congratulate the team Gènès|pictures’ for taking this challenge seriously. With their initiative, innovation and insistence - getting into the world finals was a serious bonus!!! No doubt a new door has been opened for future Sri Lankan teams to walk through... and bring prestige to the country. I wish the team travelling to the World Finals the very best - may you be true Ambassadors for Sri Lanka.”

The Short Film category highlights the art and science of storytelling, from concept and storyboard to footage and editing, all participants must be able to create a film that moves the audience, whilst also conveying its message effectively and powerfully. It takes very talented and adventurous young film makers to take on such a challenge.

As for the basic storyline/plot of the winning film, it revolves around a very unhygienic man, living in a shanty cottage with a dog who he considers to be his best friend and companion. The poor man makes paper bags out of old dirty papers for a living, but he never seems to get enough money. As the man’s dog is very intelligent, it doesn’t agree with his master neglecting the environment. So, one day the dog reacted quite violently when his master tried to dump his garbage haphazardly. Thereafter, the two good friends were parted. After seeing an article about recycling solid waste and how one can earn money out of garbage, the man decided to learn about “Recycling Technology” and three months later he was transformed into a completely different person and he learnt how to earn money from recycling, where he now uses clean recycled papers to make his paper bags. He also earns money by recycling his own garbage. The man then understood the value of the environment and he considers the environment to be his new friend who deserves his care, much like his good old friend “Rex” (The Dog). After all “good friends can always change the world!”

Team Gènès|pictures’ was excited at the opportunity to make the country proud, describing the achievement as a “phenomenal moment for our universities and an honour” Buddhika Perera leader of the team, commented “This competition is never an easy task, with more than 150 teams around the world competing for the first round, and only 30 teams being selected for the second round. After making it to the top 30 teams this year, we immediately started shooting of our film titled “Friends”, the story of which is woven around two characters - one of them a dog, where finding a suitable dog, and training him for the part was the most challenging task.”

“Disposing of solid waste, no doubt is a major problem not only for Sri Lanka, but even for developed countries. Therefore the theme of our film is about finding a solution for this issue through recycling of solid waste as we strongly believe that every body has a role in this endeavour, and it is a matter of changing the attitudes of the individuals,” he said.

“Becoming one of the world finalists in this competition itself is a dream come true. You can never under estimate the quality and the creativity of other world finalists, let alone the resources and the opportunities that some of these teams have at their disposal. However the real challenge is still ahead at Paris, and we are quite confident of putting up a good show, considering the fact that our team is blessed with equally hardworking members, who have excelled in their respective fields,” concluded Buddhika.

The Imagine Cup, now in its 4th year in Sri Lanka, is a competition designed to provide opportunities for students to explore technological and artistic interests outside classrooms. It challenges students to imagine a better world enabled by their own genius, creativity and energy and provides opportunities for participation in the future of technology, software and computing. Teams develop innovative projects that offer practical applicability and present real-world solutions to real-world problems. The Imagine Cup represents one of many ways in which Microsoft is enabling the world’s community of students to realize their potential. This initiative coincides with efforts by Microsoft Corporation to develop the future IT talent around the globe, as the Imagine Cup will provide an opportunity for future IT professionals to kick-start their careers.

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