The first-ever Ceylon International Film Festival (CEYIFF) was hosted in Santa Barbara, California in 2022, and an esteemed Awards Ceremony was held in Colombo on February 10, 2023, at the Nawaloka Hospital Auditorium.
The occasion was graced by many influential and inspirational personalities in Sri Lanka’s Cinema industry, and the ceremony also saw the participation of U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, who was the Chief Guest at the event.
Accepting an invitation from CEYIFF, CINE STAR FOUNDATION, an organization dedicated to the local Cinema industry unanimously decided to collaborate to host this historic event in Colombo, with the consent of its Board of Directors and Senior artistes.
Highlights from the ceremony saw notable personalities and films with high production-value from Sri Lanka’s Cinema industry take home awards, including Jayantha Chandrasiri who won the Best Screenplay award for the film Garasarpa, The Newspaper which won the Best Film award, Sarath Kotelawala who won Best Director and Best Actor for the The Newspaper, Neranjani Shanmugaraja who won the Best Actress award for the film Tsunami, Himali Sayurangi who won the Best Supporting Actress award for Tsunami, Kumara Thirimadura who won the Best Supporting Actor award for The Newspaper, and Tsunami which won the Jury Special Award.
Gayathree Kemadasa won the Best Music Direction award for Garasarpa while the Women in Cinema award went to Renuka Balasooriya. Veteran Actress Irangani Serasinghe and Veteran Singer Latha Walpola were recipients for the Lifetime Awards at the event.
Undoubtedly, this would pave the way to connect Sri-Lankan Cinema industry with the rest of the world as the industry needs to cross borders for the next phase of growth to gain the scale for commercial viability thus earning the respect and admiration for its capabilities and talent.
This is also the first time a film festival of this stature and magnitude was hosted in Sri-Lanka with a global feel and flavor.
“The award winners were adjudicated by all foreign professionals across multiple disciplines and excelled at the global level in their respective fields. These adjudicators have no direct links whatsoever with the stakeholders of the Sri-Lankan Cinema. Hence, the selections are totally unbiased and based on pure merits which make the award winners truly proud and the award so unique and valuable,” noted CEYIFF Chairperson Aruni Botheju.
“We are very pleased with the opportunity to host this event in Colombo in collaboration with CEYIFF, which we believe will open up new doors for the Sri Lankan Cinema industry to explore new opportunities to go from strength to strength to realize the dream of making the Sinhala Cinema truly global. This is the first step forward down that challenging journey to make Mother Lanka proud through global recognition and respect,” stated CINE STAR FOUNDATION Chairman Dr. Jayantha Dharmadasa, who is also the Chairman of Nawaloka Holdings PLC, which continues to add tremendous value to the country through multiple high-level engagements across many disciplines.