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IFFCOLOMBO offers international cinema experience to Sri Lankan audience

For the first
time an international film festival is planned to be held in Sri Lanka to offer
a great international cinema experience to Sri Lankan film enthusiasts. The
‘International Film Festival of Colombo’ (IFFCOLOMBO), organized by the Film
Directors Guild of Sri Lanka in association with the ‘Okinawa International
Movie Festival’ in Japan will be held from 2 to 7 September in Colombo.
IFFCOLOMBO Director Ashoka Handagama,
a committee member of the Film Directors Guild of Sri Lanka said although Sri
Lankan cinema has managed to garner recognition among independent festival
audience the world over, there is no effective international film festival of
its own.
“But our dream of hosting a grand festival is becoming a
reality,” Handagama said.
Describing the history of collaboration with the Okinawa Film
Festival, Handagama stated that the group from Okinawa met with representatives
of the Film Directors Guild in 2012 at the Tokyo Film Festival where they
agreed to give Yen 10 million to initiate the festival in Colombo. As they have
discussed, a group visited Sri Lanka to witness the current status of the
industry and was pleased to help.

The festival mission was to introduce globally recognized
art-house movies, which do not come as commercial releases to Sri Lanka, to
local audiences and expose local films and filmmakers to the world. “Actually
Okinawa hopes the festival will attract the audience and will be a great success.
If the festival becomes a success they will be with us, but we must try to
stand by ourselves,” added Handagama.
More than 70
films selected from countries like France, India, UK, US, China, Germany,
Nepal, Israel and Switzerland will be screened at four major cinemas in Colombo
during the festival.
The list of movies will include includes African, Caribbean and
Latin American films to offer a worldwide cultural experience to the Sri Lankan
The movies will be screened at Regal cinema, the Majestic
Cinemas, Empire and Tharangani Cinema.
The organizers say having an annual international film festival
has multiple benefits to the country. Exposure to quality cinematic works
produced from around the world make people more broadminded and absorptive and
giving experience to a multi-ethnic society is significant for overall
The organizers also hope to develop Colombo as an international
destination for quality cinema in the region via the festival. The festival
will be an opportunity to explore Sri Lanka’s potential to use cultural tourism
as a development strategy.

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