Colombo International Women’s Film Festival for the 3rd time | Print edition


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Rewards first female musical director Sujatha Attanayake

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For the third successful year, the Colombo International Women’s Film Festival was held from November 26 to December 6 at the Goethe-Institut in Colombo.

The festival opened with the streaming of the Malayalam film ‘Debout’ by Vidhu Vincent and the festival ended with the screening of ‘Papicha’ by Mounia Meddour (France-Algeria). This year’s country retrospective focused on films by German filmmakers from 1967 to 1998. Feature films, documentaries and short films by female directors from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, France, Germany , Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Portugal, Italy and the United Kingdom were screened in the competition and non-competitive sections of the festival. Lux – The International Arts Agency collaborated with the British Council to present an online event “We are here: Radical Intimacies”.

The best (international) short film was won by Indian filmmaker Surbhi Dewan for her production “An Open sky”. While ‘Imaginary Homes’ by Priya Naresh (India) received a special mention from the jury, the other nominations were ‘I am sad’ by LilithAltunyan (Armania-France) and ‘Faltu Lok’ (The Duffer) by Antara Banerjee ( India).

In the Best Short Film category – National Navayuga Kugarajah won the award for her ‘Pottu’ while the Special Jury Mention was received by IrushiTennekoon for her

“Animate it: Thaji Dias on traditional dance”. The other nomination was “Thawa masa dekayi” (Two months) by Nilmini Perera.

Exceptional performance

m Samridhi Dewan for the performance of Jeevika in An Open Sky (India)

m Sushma for Ela’s performance in Imaginary Homes (India)

m Bimsara Premaratna for her performance as a mother in ‘Two Months’ (Sri Lanka)

m Sharon pracy for her performance as a girl in ‘Pottu’ (Sri Lanka)

“Three years ago, with the active participation of a group of eminent producers, actresses and some other industry professionals, we launched the Colombo International Women’s Film Festival in Sri Lanka. Our goal was to create a platform for female directors and other professional women in the industry in the country and beyond. Over the past two years, the festival has helped recognize the work of female directors and focus on some of the key issues related to women and girls in the region and beyond, ”said Anomaa Rajakaruna, Artistic Director of ColomboIWFF .

“Due to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, over the past 11 days we have presented the third edition of the festival in a hybrid format with online and physical screenings as well as workshops and masterclasses.

Globally, women in cinema have been campaigning for the past few years calling for equal opportunities. This is called the 50/50 campaign by 2020. Today, almost at the end of 2021, we are still debating the place of women in the film industry, the under-representation of female directors in many areas. major festivals, and the lack of gender equality in terms of access to industry, training, funding for film production. and working conditions, ”said Ms. Rajakaruna. The prizes were presented to the winners on the closing day. Representing the festival partners, Goethe-Institut director Colombo Stefan Winkler and British Council director Maarya Rehman attended the awards ceremony. The other partners of the festival are the Embassy of France, the Alliance Française, the Embassy of Italy, the Women’s Political Academya and Sarasavi Cineru.

The International Relief Fund for Cultural and Educational Organizations 2021 of the German Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut and other partners supported training programs for women and girls during the festival.

Sri Lankan cinema’s first female musical director Visharad Dr. Sujatha Aththanayaka received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 1976, she composed the music for the film “Hariyata Hari”. She is the only Sri Lankan singer to perform in eight languages ​​in South Asian cinema including Hindi, Tamil, Urdu, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, English and Nepalese. She has over 6000 songs to her credit as a singer and in over 400 films as a playback singer for 3 generations of Sri Lankan actors. She completed her Masters and Visharad Exam at Lucknow College of Music in India and received PhD and Philosophy of Fine Arts from the University of Visual and Performing Arts in 2019. The lifetime award citation was read by composer and musical director Gayathri Khemadasa and The award was presented to Dr Aththanayaka by veteran actress Veena Jayakody. This year, the international jury for the national and international short film competitions included Melanie Iredale (UK) (Jury President), Renee LK Eastbrooks (USA) and Farzana Haniffa (Sri Lanka).

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Gerald R. Schneider