Sheersha Perera (NTU) graduated from her practice-led/practice-based PhD examining the taboo of menstruation in contemporary Sri Lankan cinema through RMIT University in Melbourne. She is currently completing postproduction on her feature-length hybrid documentary Big Girl, a film formed from autoethnographic life experience and her passion for Sri Lankan cinema.
As a precursor to Big Girl, Sheersha’s first hybrid short film She (2004) explored many themes relating to Big Girl (such as sexuality and cultural identity). She (2004) screened at the St Kilda Film Festival, Festival Cinemazonia, Festival Du Film De Dieppe and won a merit award at the French Film Festival in Sri Lanka.
Sheersha is a practice-led/practice-based film academic who teaches film at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.
While finishing her hybrid documentary on Sri Lankan menstrual rituals, Sheersha is also writing her chapter Creating/Recreating Memory: Cultural Menstruation Rituals through the Making of the Hybrid Documentary ‘Big Girl’ for the book Constructions of the Real: Intersections of Practice and Theory in Documentary-Based Filmmaking.
This chapter outlines the knowledge gained through creative practice research for Big Girl. The film recreates fuses fiction and nonfiction to celebrate and expose the horrors of becoming a Big Girl from the perspective of a twelve-year-old girl adjusting to physical, emotional and social change. The risks of questioning such traditions expose her personal experience within the conservatism of Sri Lanka. The chapter also addresses the complexities of working with the ‘taboo of menstruation’ for the screen from the standpoint of a Sri Lankan diasporic female filmmaker. As such, deeper discussion of this female interpretation can be heard and examined.
She is also currently revising her PhD dissertation Big Girl: The Taboo of Menstruation in Contemporary Sri Lankan Cinema for book publication.