Cinemas on wheels, more broadcast time for local films to revive film industry - Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena | Daily News
Special event to mark 76 years of Sinhala Cinema and NFC’s 51st Anniversary:

Cinemas on wheels, more broadcast time for local films to revive film industry - Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena

Cinemas on wheels and more broadcast time on television for local films have been proposed to revive the local film industry, Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said.  

Speaking at an event organized by the National Film Corporation (NFC) at its premises to mark the completion of 76 years for the Sinhala Cinema (1947-2023) and the 51st Anniversary of the NFC, the Minister said that a public dialogue from the grassroots level is necessary to revive the local film industry, which is facing a decline in the contemporary era.  

He said that he has drawn the attention of the Chairmen of State Electronic Media on the importance of allocating more broadcast time on television to improve public awareness on Sri Lankan cinema and also to play more local films. He observed that foreign language films, which are available cheap, have made inroads into private television channels over Sinhala films.   

The Minister said that he has a proposal to begin air-conditioned mobile cinemas using a few Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses. “These cinemas on wheels will be like mini-theatres. This move will help the film industry to cope up with the present-day challenges. Film halls are closing down one by one as they are unable to survive. Mobile cinemas will be a strategy to attract more viewers again,” he said.  

He said the Committee he appointed to look into the local film industry and recommend measures for its development has proposed a Film Regulatory Commission in place of the NFC.  

“Today, we are facing a cultural erosion, moral decline and a loss of humane qualities among the people due to their lack of aesthetic education and inclination. As a result, people have become more aggressive and angry. They are prone to more violence. Recently, we witnessed that even highly educated university students have become killers even for minor reasons. The space for public dialogue on refined topics has diminished. Some present-day youths do not read Sinhala novels or short stories, watch Sinhala films or listen to Sinhala music. They have no roots and have gone astray in social media,” the Minister commented.  

The Minister observed that the local film industry was swinging between a market economy and a planned economy in the 1950s to 1970s, and now its survival depends more on the market economy.   

He recalled that the NFC was set up on the guidance of former Prime Minister late Sirimavo Bandaranaike during the time of her Government as a means of providing state patronage to the local film industry.   

Asian Film Location Services Founder and veteran filmmaker Chandran Rutman was felicitated at the event in recognition of his more than four decades’ service to the Sri Lankan Cinema.   

Asian Film Location Services (Pvt) Ltd. was established in 1979 by Chandran Rutnam, when the American media company, MGM Studios, came to Sri Lanka to shoot John and Bo Derek’s “Tarzan the Ape Man”. It has provided full support services for the production and/or supervision of international motion pictures throughout Asia and has been a premier location and equipment service company in the region since its inception.  

At the outset of the event, two NFC employees garlanded the picture of former Prime Minister late Sirimavo Bandaranaike in appreciation of her contribution to the establishment of the NFC. Minister Dr. Gunawardena paid floral tributes to her picture.  

Colombo University Journalism Unit Prof. Samantha Herath made the Key-Note Speech. Ministry Secretary Anusha Palpita and National Film Corporation Chairman Deepal Chandraratne also participated.   

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