In addition to hosting celebrities from Sri Lanka, GFF will be attended by international guests of honour, and our Festival Patrons.
Shekhar Kapoor was born in India and started his life in film as an actor. He has directed seven feature films including the epics Bandit Queen (1994), Elizabeth (1998), and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007). Elizabeth: The Golden Age received an Academy Award™ this year for Best Achievement in Costume Design. In 2000, Shekhar's work earned him an International Indian Film Academy Special Award for Outstanding Achievement in World Cinema. Shekhar is currently in post-production with his film New York, I Love You, which has a star-studded ensemble cast.
Ketan Mehta is one of the most critically acclaimed film-makers in India and the recipient of numerous national and international awards. Mehta has served as a jury member at numerous international film festivals and the prizes that he has received include an award for Best Feature Film for Mirch Masala
at the 1987 Hawaii International Film Festival, and the NETPAC Special Jury Award, for the 2005 feature film The Rising: The Ballad of Mangal Pandey
. The Rising
, starring Aamir Khan and Toby Stevens, was one of the biggest films ever to have been produced in India. Among Mehta’s other well-known works are Bhavani Bhavai
(A Folk Tale
and the international co-production, Maya Memsaab
. In addition to his feature films, Mehta’s credits include seven documentaries and a television serial. The director has recently finished Rang Rasiya (Colours of Passion)
, a biography of the Indian painter, Raja Ravi Varma.
Channa Deshapriya is an acclaimed cinematographer whose credits include the award-winning The Forsaken Land
(2005). This French/Sri Lankan co-production screened at film festivals around the world and won Deshapriya Best Cinematographer at the Durban International Film Festival. In the same year, Deshapriya won the best cinematographer award for best feature film (Sri Lanka), for his film titled Wind Bird, at the New York International Film and TV Festival. He is currently working with Boodee Keerthisena as Director of Photography for Children of a Silent Age
Sam de Silva
Sam de Silva is a media maker and creative producer who is currently residing in Sri Lanka. He grew up in Australia and has spent most of his life there. Sam has a multi-disciplinary background, and has worked across the education, community, corporate and media-arts sectors. While being an advocate of digital and interactive media, he prefers to lean back and watch films that provide insights and escapes to other worlds. He co-edits molife.com.au - a mobile and digital media news site, and has produced a number of documentaries in Australia and Sri Lanka.
Elissa Down is an Australian film-maker. In 1999 and 2000 Down was nominated for Young Film-maker of the year, at the Western Australian Screen Awards. Down's semi-autobiographical feature, The Black Balloon
, won a Crystal Bear Award on its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February this year. The film also won The Bronze Gryphon (Jury Grand Prix Prize), The Arc Cinema Giovani Award (Youth Cinema prize) and The Bosch Award (awarded by the Festival Director) at the 2008 Griffoni Film Festival in July. Down's short films have also screened at festivals around the world.
Erik Thomson started his career in theatre and moved into television and film. In 2007 he starred in the successful New Zealand feature We’re Here to Help before working alongside Toni Collette (Muriel’s Wedding) in this year’s international award-winning feature, The Black Balloon. Thomson won Australia’s prestigious Silver Logie Award for Most Popular Actor in the television drama All Saints. He has just finished filming, Accidents Happen (starring Geena Davis) is due to be released later this year and Erik is currently filming BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN opposite Clive Owen due for release 2010.
Lester James Peries
Born in 1919, Dr Peries is an internationally acclaimed director, producer and screenwriter. He has won numerous international awards and participated as jury member at film festivals around the world. Dr Peries won his first international award in 1965 for his film Changes in the Village, awarded by a jury that included the esteemed directors Satyajit Ray and Andrew Wajda. He has won a Silver Lion in Venice and was awarded the UNESCO Fellini Gold Award in Cannes in 2002. Lester James Peries is widely known as the father of Sri Lankan cinema.
Award-winning screenwriter, editor and director, Sumitra Peries is a graduate of the London School of Film Technique and is Sri Lanka's first female film-maker. She made her directorial debut with the feature film Gahanu Lama
i which was selected to screen at the Carthage International Film Festival in 1978, and won the prestigious Outstanding Film of the Year award at the London Film Festival that year. Since then, Sumitra Peries has won numerous international and national awards. She has directed five feature films and numerous television programs. Her most recent film, Yahaluwo
, received critical plaudits on its release late last year.
Born in Dalugama, Sri Lanka, Ravindra Randeniya is a distinguished actor with an extensive list of film credits. He rose to fame in 1972 with Desa Nisa, directed by Lester James Peries and gave a characteristically brilliant performance in the award-winning Dark Night of the Soul. He received Sarasaviya Awards for Best Actor in 1984, for Dadayama, in 1985 for Maya, in 1989 for Sandakada Pahane and in 1990 for Siri Medura. Randeniya currently serves as the Presidential Advisor for Cinema Development.