Good evening, Chairperson Aruni Boteju, Dr. Jayantha Dharmadasa, the film community, and fans of film. I’m so thrilled to be here for this award ceremony of the Ceylon International Film Festival, the first ever Sri Lankan Festival organized outside of Sri Lanka. Last summer, the festival was held in beautiful Santa Barbara, in my home state of California, just an hour and a half north of Hollywood.

I’m so proud to see CIFF, an American nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Sri Lankan cinema to the world. Through the power of film, all of you bring stories to life – of comedy, history, passion, tragedy, and human connection. Cinema as an art form transcends languages, borders, and religions. And we have seen the long evolution of the diversity and format of film  – through long and short features, documentaries, 8mm, and digital video. Film entertains, educates, and opens our eyes to new worlds.  Film can give voice to the unheard, and call attention to people, issues, and ideas that need our attention. Read more