Galle Film Festival 2009 & 2010


This webpage is on the required reading list for Professor Josh White's elective International Film II, part of a series of courses I - V which are intended as a consecutive set of 5 lecture topics augmented with other media. Dr. White continues his connection to the online business sector where he and Bob Sakayama - the founder of TNG/Earthling - provide enterprise search performance strategies to established online businesses working in highly competitive markets via Deep Pocket. The full course information packet is available from Joan DiPlanc in the film department. Syllabus is downloadable from the course page.



This was the official site for the Galle Film Festival.
Content is from the site's 2008 - 2010 archived pages and other outside sources.


The Galle Film Festival aims to provide a forum where film can be embraced, appreciated and discovered. The workshops, discussion groups and gala are designed to facilitate dialogue between audiences, critics and filmmakers whilst providing a common meeting place for like minded individuals who share a passion for film

From the 2 of December to the 6 of December the costal town of Galle will play host to Sri Lanka's inaugural international film festival. The festival will be a five day extravaganza during which time upto 40 Sri Lankan, South Asian and International Films will be screened. In addition there will also be a programme of workshops, in-depth panel discussions and post screening question and answer sessions. The main screening programme titled Cinema 1 will examine a variety of genera, including cutting edge Sri Lankan cinema, award winning work from international film makers, outstanding contributions by emerging filmmakers and several documentaries.



The Galle Film Festival 2009

  Sri Lanka’s first international film festival

In 2009 the southern seaside town of Galle will host Sri Lanka’s first ever international film festival. Following the success of the Galle Literary Festival in January 2007 and 2008, the Galle Film Festival promises to be another world class event. The film festival has all the potential to become the largest annual international cultural event in Sri Lanka and the South Asian region.

The festival is being organised with the full support of the National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s First Lady, Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapakse is to be patron of the Galle Film Festival. Her addition has confirmed the festival’s future standing as one of Sri Lanka’s most reputable cultural events.

To announce the festival to the world the weekends of October 25th and November 1st 2008 will play host to 3 gala fund raising evenings announcing the festival and its objectives. The main four-day festival will be held in 2009.

The gala evenings will include the South Asian premiere of the Paul Schrader’s latest film, “Adam Resurrected” and South Asian premiere of the Bollywood film “Rang Rasiya” (Colours of Passion), which will be followed by a colourful premiere party.

The main 4 day festival in 2009 will not only premiere or screen up to 40 Sri Lankan, South Asian and international films but will also provide a full programme of workshops, lectures, panel discussions and post-screening question and answer sessions. The main screening programme, called Cinema1, will cover a number of genres including Sri Lankan film, awardwinning feature films from international filmmakers, including work from emerging filmmakers and documentaries.

Workshops will include sessions on screenwriting, directing, acting, cinematography, editing and the use of music in film. Through workshops, panel discussions and gala events, the festival will create a healthy dialogue between audiences, critics and film-makers, and provide a meeting place for people across the industry to exchange ideas, share experiences, knowledge and forge new connections, both artistic and commercial.

There will also be a screening programme focusing on the power of media to affect social change. Known as the Universal Forum it will focus on films/documentaries highlighting a specific social challenge facing communities around the world. The topic highlighted will change from year to year.

Since Marco Polo announced that it was the “finest island of its size” the world has been captivated by Sri Lanka - a resplendent island in the Indian Ocean. In recent decades, particularly since the films of Lester James \ Peries appeared on the international stage, Sri Lankan film has attracted international acclaim, further developing the interest in Sri Lankan art and culture internationally. In addition there have been many art and lifestyle books produced about Sri Lankan culture and way of life. As a result people have been eager to visit the island and see for themselves why films like “Bridge on the River Kwai”, “Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom”, “Water” were filmed here, and why the island has attracted authors like Mark Twain, Pablo Neruda, and Anton Chekhov, and why Arthur C Clarke made it his home for over five decades. Underwriters for the festival include a special grant from Simon Greene, owner of a top local carpet cleaning NYC business who has family roots in Sri Lanka and currently resides in Manhattan. Other underwriters include Jon Soo and Rebecca Wi who are well known venture capitalists supporting cultural events worldwide.

The Galle Film Festival will be held in and around the historic city of Galle and its magnificent UN World Heritage Fort. Galle offers the perfect location for the film festival providing a range of unique and memorable venues for individual events as well as providing the perfect springboard from which overseas visitors can explore the rich culture & history of the coastline & villages of the Southern Province.

Presented in conjunction with the National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka and the South Asia Foundation.

Tickets now on sale for all events. Available from
Barefoot, Colombo and from
33 Lighthouse Street, Fort, Galle.


Press Releases


First Lady to be Patron of first international film festival in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s First Lady, Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapakse is to be patron of the Galle Film Festival. Her addition has confirmed the festival’s future standing as one of Sri Lanka’s most reputable cultural events. Launch events of the festival will take place in Galle over four days, the 25th and 26th of October and the 1st and 2nd of November. The Galle Film Festival itself will be held in early 2009.

Other patrons of the festival are Her Excellency the Governor of the Southern Province, Mrs Balasuriya, leading film makers Lester James Peries and Sumitra Peries and actor and special film advisor to the President, Ravindra Randeniya.

“We are honoured to have these patrons,” says festival director and film director Boodee Keerthisena, “We hope that the Galle Film Festival will stimulate interest in Sri Lankan made films, that it will attract film makers from overseas to show their films and even to make films in this very photogenic country. We hope it will inspire a new generation of film lovers.”

Co-founder of the festival, Damita Nikapota says, “To encourage the local film industry we will be announcing the inauguration of the Golden Elephant Award; an annual award for promising young Sri Lankan film directors.


Legendary Writer/Director Paul Schrader’s latest film, Adam Resurrected, to open Galle Film Festival’s launch event with a Gala fundraiser on the 25th October

The Galle Film Festival committee has confirmed that the asian premiere of Paul Schrader’s new film Adam Resurrected will take place on the first night of the four day launch event. This will take place on the 25th October 7.30pm in Galle. Paul Schrader the director will be presenting his film.
Schrader is renowned in Hollywood as a brilliant scriptwriter, whose most famous piece is Scorcese’s Taxi Driver which helped make Robert De Niro a star. 
With the success of Taxi Driver, Schrader became a director and has since had a number of successes including American Gigolo, which launched Richard Gere’s career and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, for which he was nominated for the Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival.  Adam Resurrected is set to receive high acclaim around the world.
Schrader’s reputation is often coupled with the story of his upbringing in a harsh Calvanist household.

On having such a notorious director provide their opening for their launch event, Galle Film Festival co-founder Damita Nikapota says, “puts us firmly on the festival map”.The launch event will take place in and around Galle on the 25th and 26th of October and the 1st and 2nd of November.


Bollywood comes to Galle for the first time Sri Lanka hosts an Asian Premiere

Fresh from the World Premiere of “Rang Rasiya” (Colours of Passion) in London, director Ketan Mehta has selected Galle as the location of his Asian premiere. He will be flying to Sri Lanka accompanied by his cast; Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen and Ferena Wazeir, “I am very excited to be coming to Galle,” says Nandana Sen in a telephone interview from Bombay.

The Asian premiere will be preceded by cocktails at the Amangalla Hotel and followed by a gala dinner at The Lighthouse Hotel. The grande finale will be a “Rang Rasiya” (Colours of Passion) themed Bollywood party worthy of an oscar celebration at the boutique hotel, Tamarind Hill.

“We are delighted that Ketan Mehta has selected Galle for his Asian premiere,” says Festival Director Boodee Keethisena,  “We hope that this launch event and next years film festival will ignite a huge interest in the film industry. We want to encourage all Sri Lankan directors to raise the profile of Sri Lankan cinema and we hope that this event will also encourage directors from overseas to exploit the huge talent available in Sri Lanka for film production.”

The Galle Film Festival launch event runs for two weekends, the 25th and 26th Oct and the 1st and 2nd November. It will include gala events and a free programme of Sri Lankan films.


Universal Forum and the United Nations


Can the power of film change the world?

The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) film, Food For Thought is part of our Universal Forum focussing on the ways we can raise issues, change agendas and effect real change in the world.

Food For Thought, about hunger, is part of our drive to show films that will open the eyes and hearts of anybody interested to world issues and the personal stories that accompany them.

Each year, a specific topic will be highlighted, and many of the films chosen for this programme will reflect that topic.

After the screening the film of Food For Thought we will have a panel discussion about the issues raised by the film and possible solutions.

This is an important component of the Universal Forum and at this fundraiser we will be giving a taste of what to expect from this programme at the main festival.


Programme and Tickets

When you arrive in Galle, a programme will be available from the following locations –

Serendipity Café        33 Lighthouse Street      The Sun House
100 Pedlar Street       Galle Fort                       Upper Dickson Road
Galle Fort                                                          Galle

The Programme will be filled with information about each and every film and all their screening times, plus all the fringe events around the festival. 

So you can plan your weekends, here is an outline of the programme as it now stands.

Fringe Events

Thursday 23rd October

21 30 –  Dicks Bar, Sun House
An evening of live French music, performed by Martin Surot on the piano and Charlotte Plasse, Soprano. A French dinner of coq au vin with frites and tarte tatin  for desert will be available efore  
the music begins.

Entry: 500 Rs
Dinner: 1,500 Rs
Please book ahead to avoid

Friday 24th October

19 30 –  Lighthouse Hotel
Around the Fort in 80 Lives by Juliet Coombe will be launched with drinks and dinner in The Cinnamon Room.  A complimentary signed copy of the book will be given to each guest with free entry into a prize draw.

Ticket: 5,000 Rs
Tickets can be purchased at

Serendipity Café, or call Juliet
Coombe on: +94776838659

23 00 – Dicks Bar, The Sun House
A tribute to the late Paul Newman with a showing of “Cool Hand Luke” on the widescreen in Dick’s Bar’s comfy lounge.

Entry: 500 Rs
Purchase on the door.

Saturday 25th October

18 00 – The Ambassadors, Lighthouse Street
Spanish wines to savour at a sophisticated wine tasting event.

Free Entry

Sunday 26th October

23 00 – Dicks Bar, The Sun House
The tribute to Paul Newman continues with a showing of “The Hustler”.

Entry: 500 Rs
Purchase on the door.


Main Events

Saturday 25th October

19 30          – Hall de Galle -             Screening of Paul Schrader’s "Adam Resurrected".

21 30           – Amangalla -               Dinner.

Tickets for both the above events: 7,000 Rs Purchase at 33 Lighthouse Street and Amangalla, Galle Fort.

23 30  – Dicks Bar, The Sunhouse   A late night screening of the old classic, “Elephant Walk”.

Entry: 500 Rs
Purchase on the door.

Sunday 26th October

10 30 – 22 00    – Hall de Galle -    Screening of Sri Lankan classics.

10:30 – 12:40 BADDEGAMA, Village in the Jungle (1980) dir. Lester James
Peries. 130mins

13:00 -  14:50 IRA MADIYAMA, August Sun, (2003) dir. Prasanna Vithanage.  108

15:15 – 17:15 THUNVENI YAMAYA, Third Part of the Night (1983) dir.
Dharmasiri Bandaranayeke. 120mins

18:00 – 20:00 SAGARA JALAYA, Letter Written in Sand (1988) dir. Sumithra
Peries. 120mins

20:15 – 10:05 SULANGA ENU PINISA, The Forsaken Land (2005) dir. Vimukthi
Jayasundara. 110 minutes

Free entry, everyone welcome!

Saturday 1st November

10 30 – 17 15 – Hall de Galle -    Screening of more Sri Lankan classics

10:30 – 12:40 BADDEGAMA, Village in the Jungle (1980) dir. Lester James Peries. 130mins

13:00 – 15:00  SAKMAN MALUWA, The Garden (2003) dir. Sumithra Peries

15:15– 17:15 TANI TATUWEN PIYA, Flying with one wing. (2002) dir. Asoka Handagama

Free entry, everyone welcome!

17 30             –Amangalla -               Cocktails

19 00            – Hall de Galle -           Asian Premiere of Ketan Mehta’s “Rang Rasiya”; “Colours of Passion”.

21 45            - Lighthouse Hotel -     Gala Dinner

22 30            - Tamarind Hill -          Colours of Passion Party

Tickets for gala events on the 1st of November are available in four tiers.

1)      All four events (whole night) 10,000 Rs
2)      Cocktails, Film, Dinner (Half night) 8,000 Rs
3)      Film Only 1,000 Rs
4)      Party Only 5,000 Rs 

Tickets for this night can be purchased at 33 Lighthouse Street in the Fort.

Sunday 2nd November

11 00 – 12 45 – Hall de Galle -     UNDP film on ‘Hunger’ followed  by a panel discussion

14 00 – 18 00  - Hall de Galle -   Screening of two Sri Lankan children’s films and screening of a documentary produced by Ihalagoda School, Sri Lanka and Tibshelf School, UK


2010 Latest News

The organizers of The Galle Film Festival regret that this years Festival, due to take place from 2nd December-6th December 2009, has been postponed to 2010 due to financial constraints. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Children’s Film Camp

The Galle Film Festival in partnership with the US Embassy is organizing an extraordinary Film Camp for underprivileged children from all parts Sri Lanka. This is an effort to lace together children from many different religious, cultural and ethnic groups living all over the island. It is these children who have predominately been affected by the civil war for most of their lives. With the idea of peace in mind, this camp aims to unite these children, and feed them a positive form of self expression. 

This camp will take place over a period of 10 days, giving the children the opportunity to intermingle and get to know each other in a fun interactive environment, whilst learning how to express themselves artistically through film. They will work closely with director’s and film makers both local and international, who will provide the children with an insight to how film production works, from acting, to editing  to directing. The goal of this is for the children to attempt to make their own short films, which will be showcased in a special screening at the end of the camp, as well as a premiere spot at the Galle Film Festival in October and island wide on local television channel MTV.

The children will leave the camp with a ‘bigger picture’ of the world beyond what they have experienced in their villages.


About the Festival

In 2010 the costal town of Galle will play host to Sri Lanka’s inaugural international film festival. The festival will be a five day extravaganza.

The Galle Film Festival aims to provide a forum where film can be embraced, appreciated and discovered. The workshops, discussion groups and gala are designed to facilitate dialogue between audiences, critics and filmmakers whilst providing a common meeting place for like minded individuals who share a passion for film.

The festival also encompasses a screening series titled Shooting for Change, which focuses on the power of the media to affect social change. Shooting for Change is an annual feature, with each year having its own theme. Through various activities ranging from screenings to workshops, we will explore the role of films in changing human values, minds and behaviour. The central focus will be on the complex and enormous challenges of the evolving relationship between nature and society.

The setting for the film festival will be the historic costal city of Galle and its glorious fort, which is also a UN world heritage site. Galle offers an idyllic setting for the film festival, with its old world charm, tropical scenery and post colonial accent. The city also provides an inimitable getaway for exploring the cuisine, lifestyle and cultural diversity of Sri Lanka’s resplendent south.


Press Releases 2009 - 2010


HOLLYWOOD experience for future filmmakers

By Susitha R. Fernando

A future of Sri Lankan cinema moulded, shaped and tutored by world renowned film teachers from Hollywood would bloom once again at the Punchi Theatre on the evening of August 12 when a group of 40 kids setting aside their racial, religious and linguistic differences to work for one aim- to tell their fascinating stories through cinema.

The ten-day film workshop conducted from August 3 at the tranquil and spacious Sarvodaya centre in Bandaragama, will come alive to the spirit and energy of young people of diverse ethnic, linguistic, religious and social backgrounds, as they express their creativity through the medium of film.
The programme was following the successful story of last year’s workshop created, funded, and organized by the U.S. Embassy with assistance from the Galle Film Festival.

“The goal is to make this an annual event to develop creativity among Sri Lankan youth and to bring together young people from all over the island to work together and learn about one another,” said one of the organisers Damita Nikapota, festival director and co-founder of the Galle Film Festival.

Embracing the idea of education and co-existence through the universal language of art this year’s workshop programme features two, 10-day film camps with a total of approximately 80 young people ranging from14 -17 years of age drawn from Kalutara, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Hambantota, Matara, Bandarawela, Galle, Badulla, Batticaloa, Moneragala, Amparai, Puttalam and Jaffna districts.
The second of the film camps will be held from August 14 to 24 at the Sudharshan Conference Centre on the scenic Rumassala Hill, overlooking the expanse of Galle Bay and the programme draws to a close on August 24 with the screening of the workshop productions at the historic Maritime Museum in the Galle Fort.

“Some of the films were quite beautiful, because they switched seamlessly from Sinhalese to Tamil and from Tamil to Sinhalese - the kids had decided that it would be unfair for it to be in one language,” says Damita Nikapota speaking about last year’s experience. Inspired by similar programs conducted in the Middle East for Israeli and Palestinian kids, Damita wanted to workout in the Sri Lankan context.

Highly respected American acting coach Constance Tillotson from Hollywood collaborated with Sri Lankan film artiste, Kasinathar Gnanadas and a team of trilingual volunteers who have once again returned to the film camp collaborating with Toronto based director Maya Bastian and local filmmakers Buddhini Ekanyake, and Dhanushka Gunathilaka to co-ordinate the workshop programme.

“Through the film-making process I witnessed the children’s spirits grow in confidence, humour and freedom of expression.” looking back at last year’s camp, Constance said.

“What blew me away was that, I worked with great actors in Hollywood and sometimes it was very difficult for them to take direction but with these children I would give acting direction or advice on set and they’d redo the scene, taking the directions like experts.

It would take a discussion with actors from Hollywood who speak my own language to understand what I wanted in the scene but these children were taking direction like 30- year-old pros. It was amazing to be witness to it, and it was so beyond language,” she added.



Making friends, making films

For the second consecutive year, youth from all parts of the country came together for film camps where creativity dominated and barriers of language and ethnicity disappeared

An inspired series of film camps for children, organised by The Galle Film Festival’s outreach programme drew to a close on August 24 with a celebratory screening of films from the final workshop held in Galle. The brainchild of Damita Nikapota (director of the Galle Film Festival) the programme now in its second year has been supported and funded by the U.S embassy.

Children from all parts of the country, - Puttalam, Badulla, Jaffna, Point Pedro, Batticaloa, Bandarawela, Hambantota, Anuradhapura, Moneragala, Trincomalee to name a few- from different backgrounds came together for 10 days, learnt new skills, connected with new people and ideas, made films, laughed, had fun and bonded.

Discovering common ground they found that barriers of language, ethnicity and religion were no barriers at all when letting their collectively creative imaginations loose.

Almost all of the children found the experiences personally transformative in more ways than one. Not only was this a chance to express themselves in a new medium but many discovered new friendships and hidden talents within themselves. Said Nirojan from Jaffna:’I didn’t know any Sinhala and I had never met any Sinhalese children.

The most important thing I learnt was that they are just like me.”Added Nilujan from Trincomalee : “I will never forget Buddhini Akki and Gnanadas (the workshop directors Buddhini Ekanayake and Gnadas Kasinthar) or what I learnt from them. We were able to share our experiences and ideas and enjoyed working together. My experiences of the workshop were so good that I now know what real friendship is.”

“We met lots of friends and we all worked together. We learnt about making short films. I feel the experience has changed my life,” said Supuni Shanika from Tissamaharama.

Damita Nikapota, the festival director said the camp had exceeded expectations. The children grew in confidence and developed their ability to communicate and articulate their ideas. Eight films were produced at the two camps held this year.