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Dr. Lester James Peries
ලෙස්ටර් ජේම්ස් පීරිස්
1919 - 2018
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SUMMARY

Dr. Lester James Peries ලෙස්ටර් ජේම්ස් පීරිස්
Dr. Lester James Peries
  • Birthday : 1919 April 5
  • Died : 2018 April 29


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    INTERNATIONAL AWARDS
    1Felini Gold Award (from UNESCO)
    56th Canns Film Festival - 2002
    Canns - France

     
    NATIONAL AWARDS

    1 Best Director

    2nd Deepashika Award Ceremony 1957
    Rekava

    2 Best Director

    1st Sarasaviya Awards - 1964
    Gamperaliya

    3 Best Director

    1st United Lanka Fans Society Award Ceremony 1964
    Gamperaliya

    4 Best Director

    4th Sarasaviya Awards - 1967
    Delovak Athara

    5 Best Director

    3rd United Lanka Fans Society Award Ceremony 1968
    Delovak Athara

    6 Best Director

    1st Vicharaka Sammana Ulela 1968
    Ransalu

    7 Best Director

    2nd Vicharaka Sammana Ulela 1969
    Golu Hadawatha

    8 Favourite Film Director6,364

    3rd Deepashika Award Ceremony 1972

    9 Best Director

    5th Vicharaka Sammana Ulela 1972
    Nidhanaya

    10 Best Editor [2nd]

    5th Vicharaka Sammana Ulela 1972
    Nidhanaya

    11 Special Award - For Cinema Artistic Appearance

    4th Deepashika Award Ceremony 1974

    12 Special Award

    4th OCIC Award Ceremony 1977
    Gamperaliya

    13 Best Director [2nd]

    1st Presidential Award 1979
    Ahasin Polovata

    14 Best Director

    6th OCIC Award Ceremony 1979
    Ahasin Polovata

    15 "Swarna Sinha" Award

    4th Presidential Award 1982

    16 Best Director

    11th OCIC Award Ceremony 1984
    Kaliyugaya

    17 Best Director

    8th Presidential Award 1986
    Yuganthaya

    18 "Ranathisara" Award

    15th Sarasaviya Awards - 1987

    19 Best Script Writer

    17th Sarasaviya Awards - 1989
    Sagara Jalaya Madi Handuwa Oba Sanda

    20 Best Script Writer

    16th OCIC Award Ceremony 1989
    Sagara Jalaya Madi Handuwa Oba Sanda

    21 "Swarna Jayanthi" Award

    11th Presidential Award 1997

    22 Derana Lifetime Award

    2nd Derana Film Awards 2013

    23 Abhimani Award

    33rd Sarasaviya Awards - 2016

    24 Special AwardContribution to the Sri Lankan cinema

    3rd Hiru Golden Film Awards 2018
     
    FILMOGRAPHY


    AS CREW MEMBER

    1Rekava
    Director / Story
    1956
    2Sandeshaya
    Director / Story / Script
    1960
    3Gamperaliya
    Director
    1963
    4Delovak Athara
    Director
    1966
    5Ransalu
    Director
    1967
    6Golu Hadawatha
    Director
    1968
    7Akkara Paha
    Director
    1970
    8Nidhanaya
    Director / Editor
    1972
    9Desa Nisa
    Director
    1975
    10Madol Doova
    Director
    1976
    11God King [ English ]
    Director
    1976
    12Gehenu Lamai
    Producer
    1978
    13Veera Puran Appu
    Director
    1978
    14Ahasin Polovata
    Director
    1978
    15Pinhamy
    Director
    1979
    16Beddegama
    Director
    1981
    17Kaliyugaya
    Director
    1983
    18Maya
    Producer
    1984
    19Yuganthaya
    Director
    1985
    20Sagara Jalaya Madi Handuwa Oba Sanda
    Script
    1988
    21Avaragira
    Director / Story
    1995
    22Wekanda Walawwa
    Director
    2003
    23Ammavarune
    Director
    2006
    BIOGRAPHY

    Sri Lankabhimanya Lester James Peries (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකාභිමාන්‍ය ලෙස්ටර් ජේම්ස් පීරිස්; 5 April 1919 – 29 April 2018) was a Sri Lankan film director, screenwriter, and film producer. Considered as the father of Sri Lankan cinema, Lester worked as a filmmaker from 1949 to 2006, and was involved in over 28 films, including shorts and documentaries.

    He received critical acclaim for directing Rekava, Gamperaliya, Nidhanaya, Golu Hadawatha, Kaliyugaya, Awaragira and Yuganthaya. His movie Wekande Walauwa, starring Ravindra Randeniya and Malini Fonseka, was Sri Lanka's first ever submission for the Academy Awards and the film Nidhanaya was included among the top 100 films of the century by the Cinémathèque Française. Peries' films often deal with Sri Lankan family life in rural settings and conflicted characters. He helped create an authentic expression of Sinhala Cinema.

    EARLY LIFE


    Lester James Peries was born on 5 April 1919 in Dehiwela, Colombo, Ceylon. His father, Dr. James Francis Peries, studied medicine in Scotland and was also a cricketer for a Scottish club. His mother, Ann Gertrude Winifred Jayasuria, was the first graduate of St. Bridget's Convent in Colombo. Peries had three siblings: Erica, Ivan and Noel.

    The Peries family was a staunch Roman Catholic family that had become Anglicised. Growing up, Peries only spoke English at home and celebrated Christian traditions. His only link to Sinhala culture was his grandmother who always didn't trust Western medicine and spoke proper Sinhalese. At the age of eleven, Peries was given a 8mm Kodascope projector by his father as a gift, which ran Chaplin's silent movies. At that time, his only interest in films was when he and his brother Ivan would haunt the cinema to watch foreign film serials which ran day after day. Peries was never involved in school drama productions, and had no idea he was going to be a film director especially since British Ceylon did not have its own national film industry at that time.

    He attended St Peter's College, Colombo - one of the Catholic schools in Colombo- as a teenager, before dropping out to pursue a career in journalism at the age of 17. He found his first work with the Daily News writing for the blue pages which was an arts supplementation. In 1939 he joined The Times of Ceylon working under Indian editor Frank Moraes. He also reviewed books on Radio Ceylon for a short period.

    Peiris first real work with production came when he joined a theatre group called Drama Circle. This was a group of like minded individuals which regularly produced modern English plays. Here Peries was engaged in all aspects of the productions other than acting.

    STAY IN ENGLAND


    In 1947, Peries travelled to England on his mother's advice to join his brother Ivan Peries who was there on an art scholarship. Moreas suggested writing a column from the country to be published in the Times which became "Letter on the Arts from England."

    During that time, film-making was taking off in the UK with about 400 amateur film clubs around the country. In addition, Peries' passion for the cinema was developing and he met another Sri Lankan with similar interests, Hereward Jansz. The two youngsters decided to make a film together despite Hereward having his doubts about competing with established, well-funded clubs. They began with Peries writing the script and directing while Hereward did the filming with their limited camera equipment. Their first effort 'Soliloquy' (1949), a short film, won the Mini Cinema Cup for displaying the best technical proficiency. This work was followed by three other experimental films.

    In 1952, the editor John Hockin told Peries of an interesting assignment he had for him – an interview with the new head of the Government Film Unit of Ceylon. At the end of the interview, the head of film unit Mr Keene inquired after Peries' own interest in making films. He knew about Peries' talent because he sat on one of the juries that presented the upcoming director with an amateur's award. Keene suggested that Peries return to Ceylon to embark on a career on filmmaking.

    Upon the return to Ceylon of producer Ralph Keene, Peries joined the Government Film Unit as Keene's assistant. Two major documentaries he helped Keene with were Heritage of Lanka and Nelungama. He also directed Conquest in the Dry Zone, a documentary on controlling malaria and Be Safe or Be Sorry, a witty study on errant motorists. At this time, a relative of Peries' suggested he start a company to produce Sinhala films. Peries left Government Film Unit in 1955 and created Chitra Lanka Limited to produce two films. Only one, Rekava, was ultimately produced. Peries' closest colleagues at the Government Film Unit, William Blake, a cameraman of Dutch descent, and Titus de Silva (Titus Thotawatte), an editor, resigned with him and later worked together on a number of films.

    PERSONAL LIFE


    Peries met his wife, Sumitra, who is also a film director, in Paris at the home of a mutual friend and married in 1964 at All Saints Church in Borella. Peries' brother was artist Ivan Peries.

    CAREER


    In 1956, Peries made his entry into national cinema with the globally acclaimed Rekava, which was a story based on village life. It was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival. With this film he revolutionised Ceylonese cinema, giving it a unique identity. It was the first Ceylonese movie to be shot outdoors. Although it was acclaimed internationally it was not a commercial success. Afterward he made many award-winning films such as Gamperaliya in 1964 based on Martin Wickramasinghe's famous novel which received the Golden Peacock at the International Film Festival of India; "Delowak Athara" in 1966; "Golu Hadawatha" in 1968 based on the novel by Karunasena Jayalath; "Nidhanaya" in 1970 which was chosen as the best film of the first 50 years of Sri Lankan cinema and was included among the top 100 films of the century by the Cinémathèque Française;[5] "Yuganthaya" in 1983; and Wekande Walauwa in 2002 which received the UNESCO felini award. He has directed over 28 feature films.

     
     
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