The love he had for art, was the main force that directed him to win both local and international awards as a director at a later point in hs life. He, who is journeying in a path of continuous award winning, has taken a long journey both in cinema and television media,... is Bennet Rathnayake.
Bennett Rathnayake’s arrival to Colombo from his hometown Matale, was to assume a job at Department of Customs, Sri Lanka. But his inexhaustible love for art never got diminished within him; it just got increased day by day. He had the habit of watching films, stage dramas and reading articles related to arts. This reading habit and the close encounters he had had with the artistic creations enriched his imagination. This imagination was the foundation for his fine creations later. Bennet, after arriving in Colombo in 1978, starts to follow Diploma programme in Science of Gems at University of Moratuwa. Though he engaged in his job which was a different film to Arts, his attention was constantly diverted to the world of artistic creation. Therefore, he starts to follow the cinema training programme that was conducted by the OCIC in 1986. At the end of the course it was required to present a trainee's creation, for which he directed a 25 minute drama titled; " Piyawaru saha Puththu " (Fathers and Sons).
Everybody's attention was drawn to his maiden effort; "Piyawaru saha Puththu", which appeared as a short drama for television by an amateur artist. It bagged the award for the best non- serial creation at the O.C.I.C Awards Ceremony in 1987. With this success, Bennett got the opportunity to telecast his maiden drama through National Television and Independence Television channels. Encouraged by that, in 1988, he directed a serial drama with 5 episodes, titled "Sayuren Eha" ( Beyond Ocean). After it was being telecast by the National Television, Bennet engaged himself continuously in artistic creation and produced several tele-dramas. "Tharu" (Stars), "Grahanaya" (The Grip), "Kalu Hansayo" (Black Swans), "Makara Vijithaya" and Kadumuwa (Razer's edge), are some of his tele-dramas.
By this time, he was heavily involved in television media, thus, he initiated his own institution "Ben Films", as a production institute for tele-drama and cinema creation. That was in 1994.
When we closely analyze his work, we see that he has always tried to bring in novel experiences to his audience by searching for and adopting different themes in each of his creations.
After having accumulated an immeasurable amount of experience from the television media, he was marking time and waiting to embark on to the silver screen from the small screen. His dream became a reality in year 2001, when he came to the limelight as a director by producing his first film; "Aswesuma" (Comperisation). In fact, "Aswesuma" became a blessing to his cinema life, for; he became an award winning director from his maiden cinema direction. In that year, he won the award for Best Direction Category, along with several awards for this film at the Sarasaviya Film Festival. It also won 05 International award,including Best Director, Best Film, International Crities award -etc.at Houston, I.F.F, Mumbei IFF Dhaka I.F.F, Triburon I.F.F, USA Hawaw I.F.F. and also a Diploma Certificate at PyongYoung I.F.F of North Korea.
The tele-drama www.com, which he produced subsequent to the film "Aswesuma" caught everybody's attention and was much talked about. There, Bennet tried to portray the doom brought about to society by modern technological advancement. Later on, he directed the film "Sulanga"(Wind). This film acclaimed critical appreciation and won several awards at international film festivals, including Houston International Cinema Festival in 2005.Further his both films, Aswesuma and Sulange have been second in many prestigons International film festival as such Moscow, Montred, India, Japan, Australia, Egipt, Iran, Bangladesh, South Korea, North Korea, Brazil, U.K, France, Argentina, U.S.A etc.
The teledramas; “Senda Sakmana”(Evening Walk) and “Sudheera”; which he produced recently, were telecast amidst audience appraisal. In those two tele-dramas, he unveils two different plot lines. Also, the stories were presented in a way that arouse the curiosity of the audience, fusing human emotions like love and pity at the same time.
Though he made his advent to media world was from tele-drama making, he, who always loves cinema, sees it as his media. This wonderful artist, with his new cinema direction “Under the sun and Moon”, which starts its screening from today onwards, will start his long journey to conquer the local and international cinema.