Among the many events scheduled to mark the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and Sri Lanka, celebrations of Sri Lankan cinema take centre stage. The French Embassy to Sri Lanka and the Maldives has organised a conference on Sri Lankan Cinema titled Cinema and society: beginnings and evolution of cinema in colonial and post-independent Sri Lanka on December 1 at Lighthouse Auditorium and Lawns (24, Horton Place, Colombo 7). The key speaker at the conference will be Prof. Vilasnee Tampoe-Hautinon at the University of La Reunion.
Her research has addressed various aspects of Indian Ocean cultural history, with a focus on cinema and identity politics in colonial and post-independent contexts in India and Sri Lanka. She is the author of a number of articles and books, including two biographies of Sri Lankan filmmakers, Robin Tampoe, Last of the Big Ones (2008) and Sumitra Peries, poetess of Sinhala Cinema (2011), as well as two Volumes on Sri Lanka Cinema, from 1896 up to now.
The conference will focus on the development of cinema in Colonial and post-independence Sri Lanka, then Ceylon. It will highlight the groundbreaking efforts by individuals, both foreign and local, to consolidate its artistic and industrial bases, including France’s own contribution to both the development of Sinhala-speaking films as well as academic research on Sri Lankan cinema.