Lester James Peries and Sumitra Peries Foundation launched

Saturday, 11 June 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Awards won by Dr. Peries

The Lester James Peries and Sumitra Peries Foundation was launched amid a large and distinguished gathering of parliamentarians, ambassadors, corporates, the Sri Lankan film industry fraternity, friends and well wishers on Thursday 09 June at the BMICH. Chief Guest on the occasion was the celebrated Indian film maker Padma Vibushan Dr. Adoor Gopalakrishnan while the Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapakse was the Guest of Honour.

The evening took on a dual significance with the inaugural Lester James Peries Oration by Prof. Wimal Dissanayake, Professor at the University of Hawaii and Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong titled “Sinhala Cinema and the Social Imaginary : The Work of Lester James Peries”.

The Foundation’s website – www.ljpspfoundation.org – was also launched on the occasion by the Speaker.

This gala event was organised to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee of Dr. Lester James Peries winning his first-ever international award, when in 1951, Great Britain awarded him the “The Mini Cinema Challenge Cup” under the category ‘Soliloquy’ for “the film showing the greatest technical proficiency”.  

Dr. Peries has, since then, emerged as the greatest film maker Sri Lanka has ever produced. The legacy of his cinematic creations is now an integral part of world cinema. Over these past 60 years, Sri Lanka, and many countries and institutions around the world have continued to bequeath innumerable awards and accolades on Dr. Peries.  

This event also coincided with the Golden Jubilee of Sumitra Peries’ entry into Cinema. Her cinematic journey began half a century ago when she first joined the set of ‘Sandeshaya’ as a young Assistant Director to Lester James Peries. Sri Lanka’s first ever professionally qualified film director, she holds a Diploma from the London School of Film Technique and a Higher Diploma from the Conservatoire Indépendante du Cinema Française, Paris.

She too has won a large number of awards and has been recognised both locally and internationally for her sensitive directorial ventures. Among them was the Golden Lotus at Deauville Film Festival 2001, France for her “Contribution to Asian Cinema.”

Sumitra Peries was Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for France and Spain from 1995 to 1999 and in parallel Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO during which period she was played a pivotal role in further strengthening Franco-Sri Lankan bilateral ties.

The Foundation which is being incorporated by an Act of Parliament plans to work towards the establishment of a ‘National Cinema Archives’ in Sri Lanka and to promote children’s cinema in this country. Its trustees are Dr. Lester James Peries, Sumitra Peries, Gayathri Mustachi, Yadamini Gunawardena and Kumar de Silva.

* Golden Peacock for “Gamperaliya” (Grand Prix at the International Film Festival New Delhi 1965)

* Golden Head of Palenque Mexico for “Gamperaliya”

* Silver Lion of St. Mark for “Nidhanaya” at the Venice International Film Festival 1972

* Golden Lotus at Deauville Film Festival 2001, France for his “Contribution to Asian Cinema”

* Fellini Gold Medal at the 2003 Cannes International Film Festival awarded by UNESCO for “an outstanding film career”

* Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters (French Legion of Honour) awarded by the French Government in 1997

* Golden Peacock and Lifetime Achievement Award from India in 2000

* ‘Sri Lankabhimanya’, the highest civilian award in Sri Lanka (2007).