a night that glittered with stars, Geetha Kumarasinghe and
Jackson Anthony bagged the awards for Best Actress and Actor,
and Mille Soya the top awards for Best Film and Best Director.
The fifteenth Presidential Film Awards Festival
was held after a lapse of four years at the BMICH on Wednesday.
Chief guest at the occasion was President Chandrika Kumaratunga
while Dr. Lester James Pieris and his wife, Sumithra Pieris were
the guests of honour.
Among the numerous artistes present, Ministers
Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene, Sarath Amunugama, Mangala Samaraweera,
and Jeevan Kumaranatunga were present.
In addition to the awards, a total of rupees
twenty five lakhs in prize money was given out.
Minister Mangala Samaraweera gave away
Vishvakeerthi Awards to eight artistes. Benet Ratnayake (Aswesuma),
Asoka Handagama (Me Mage Sadai), Nithyavani Kandaswami (Punchi
Suranganavi), Anoma Jinandari (Thani Thatuven Piyabanna),
Inoka Sathyangani (Sulang Kirilla), Damitha Abeyratne (Sulang
Kirilla), Prasanna Vithanage (Ira Mediyama) and Nimmi
Harasgama (Ira Mediyama) received these awards.
Director of Me Mage Sadai (This is my
moon) and Thani Thatuven Piyabanna (Flying with one
wing), Asoka Handagama, was not present at the ceremony to
receive his award and prize money of rupees one hundred and
fifty thousand, but sent a letter to the president that was read
out to the audience. In it, Handagama thanked the president for
the award and said that he had been invited for the event only
on the previous evening. Furthermore, he said he was not
participating on a matter of policy. Twenty two years ago on
this day, Handagama said, Tamil prisoners Kuttamani and
Thangadorai were killed in prison. Handagama also said that he
respected the president for signing the PTOMS agreement. He
bequeathed the prize money to the Jaffna Public Library.
Shelton Premaratne (music), G. D. L. Perera
(camera) Udula Dabare (acting) and Anula Karunatilleke (acting)
received special awards for their contribution to Sri Lankan
For receiving the most widespread response from
the public, Surya Arana producer Renuka Balasuriya
received an award presented by Minister Jeevan Kumaranatunga.
Surya Arana bagged ten awards including Best
Singer, Best Songs, and Best Scriptwriter. Vimukthi Jayasundara
bagged a gold medal and one million rupees in prize money for
receiving the Camera d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival, Sri
Lankan cinema’s highest international film award to date.
The awards ceremony was organised by the National Film