In yet another of its International Women’s Day Activities, WERC felicitated Ms. Sumitra Peiris, the first Sri Lankan woman film maker who broke the norm and sought a field hitherto dominated by men. Also felicitated with Ms. Peiris on this occasion, was the evergreen Star of the Sri Lankan Film Industry – Ms. Iranganie Serasinghe, who holds a special place in the hearts of all film goers.
The Felicitation took place at the WERC premises on the 7th of March and was chaired by WERC’s founder, Trustee and Governing Council member Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran. She appropriately described the two eminent women as role models to be emulated by the younger generation of our country.
Ms. Peiris in April released her latest film “Vaishnavi” – making her the first director in Sri Lanka to shoot with the latest Red Epic camera. She thus laid the foundation for the next generation digital cinema for Sri Lanka. Since her debut as Sri Lanka’s first woman film maker, she has won numerous international and national awards as film maker, director and editor. Gehenu Lamai, Ganga Addara and Yahaluvo are among her most popular films.
Sumitra Peiris at a very young age was bold to choose a career that she liked – a career that women were not encouraged to pursue. It is said that when she enrolled in her film making class in the London School of Film Technique and was awarded a Diploma in Film Direction and Production (1957–1959), she was the only woman studying this subject there at that time.
A part of the felicitation that evening was the viewing of the film Yahaluwo in the company of its Director and the Actress. The film was followed by an informal sharing of views in which everyone took part enthusiastically. Thus ended an evening to be remembered and cherished.