Asian Film Centre, Sri Lanka is privileged to announce the
publication of the first complete biography of Lester James
Peries, one of the greatest film makers of Asia and of the
World. The book’s author, the late Prof. A. J. Gunawardene, was
a close friend of LPJ and collaborated with him as the
scriptwriter of three of the film maker’s well-known films —
Beddegama (Village in the Jungle), Kaliyugaya
(The Age of Kali) and Yuganthaya (End of an Era).
Prof. Gunawardene began researching and writing this biography
of Lester James Peries in the early 1990’s. His intention was to
enhance the narrative with his own insights, analyses and
assessments of the film maker’s work. Sadly he passed away in
1998 before he could complete this labour of love.
However, the manuscript, which was in the
possession of Dr. Lester James Peries proved to be a treasure
chest of Prof. A. J. Gunawardene’s singular writing style as it
shone through to illuminate the heart and mind of his esteemed
Dr. Peries passed the manuscript over to the
Asian Film Centre who has now brought it up to date with his
latest film Ammawarune.
The biography comprehensively covers LJP’s life
from his childhood in colonial Ceylon, through the post-war
years in London where he worked as a journalist and then an
experimental film maker, and takes us through his nearly 56
years of film making in Sri Lanka right up to his new film.
An introduction has been included in the form of
a detailed and comprehensive assessment of the work and
influence of LJP by the respected and widely published academic
in the field of the cinema and cultural studies, Prof. Wimal
The publishers have also added a complete
filmography and a bio-data section, plus an Index and many
archival photographs, which make this biography a worthy tribute
to both the writer and his subject.
The Asian Film Center (AFC) was founded in 1991
to enhance and enrich film culture in Sri Lanka and to expand
the appreciation of film as a culturally relevant art form among
all sections of the population. The AFC actively pursues a
policy of developing a viable world film culture in Sri Lanka
with a special focus on Asia. It plays a unique leading role in
film education and training, film appreciation, hosting foreign
film festivals and promotion of Sri Lankan films worldwide.
Profiling Sri Lankan Cinema, published in 2000,
co-authored by Wimal Dissanayake and Ashley Ratnavibhushana, was
an introductory essay aimed at the non-specialist and general
readers written with a deep acquaintance with contemporary film
theories. It focused very concisely on the growth of Sri Lankan
Cinema, and on mapping its high points and dominant trends, with
discussions on the more important film makers. The Tamil
translation of the same book was published in 2001.
AFC is affiliated to the Network for the Promotion of Asian
Cinema (NETPAC) an internationally recognised organisation for
the promotion of Asian Cinema.