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Sri Lanka recognised as an ideal location for British filmmakers

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The Sri Lanka stall

Form Left :Chandran Rutnam – Asian Locations ,  Nalin Perera – Tourism Promotion Officer for UK ,  Sunil Rathnayake- Teleview ,  Clara Le- Director , FOCUS Show Ltd. ,  Amari Wijewardene- H.E High Commissioner for UK,  Chaminda Munasinghe- Ast. Director VJP for Sri Lanka Tourism,  Priyanga Kumarasiri- Crew for Shoot,   Shyaman Permasundara – Frames Film & TV Productions,  Jayantha Jayathilake- Asian Locations.

To project Sri Lanka’s spectacular vistas as ideal film locations for the British Cinema industry, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau participated in FOCUS Film Location Show 2017 in London recently.In the third year of its initiation, FOCUS is one of the top international meeting places for the international production community of the Film, TV and Commercials industries.

Visitors and industry participants at the event

More than 170 companies from 61 countries exhibited at the event, including film commissions, location providers and production service companies. Sri Lanka Tourism participated for this Film Tourism Promotional event with a group of well experienced local Film Producers in Sri Lanka, those who have vast familiarity in offering all logistical arrangements international films shoot in Sri Lanka. Namely, Chandran Rutnam,( Chairman, Producer and Director at Asian Film Location Services Pvt. Ltd),Sunil Rathnayake (Chariman at Teleview and also newly appointed Global Films & Television Productions Consultant for Sri Lanka Tourism), Shyaman Premasundara( Film Director & Producer at Frames TV & Film Production), Mr. Priyanga T. Kumarasiri , Producer at Crew For Shoots.

Q & A Session with British Film Producers

The British silver screen is one of the busiest & high value film industries in the world with a production of over 600 films annually. Producing global cinematic pioneers such as Director, Sir. Caroll Reed and Sir. David Lean. According to Sri Lanka’s pioneer International Film maker Chandran Rutnam , David Lean’s ‘’ Bridge on the river Kwai’’ was considered to be one of the TOP 10 films ever made by Global Cinema industry.  According to Mark Sweney from The Guardian UK- ‘’ UK film, TV and music activities have grown by 72.4% since 2014, outpacing growth in other EU countries’’ (26th July 2017). “The UK cinema industry is enjoying a period of exceptional success,” said Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association.

Addressing the British Media

There were 70.8 million visits overseas by UK residents in 2016, which was 8% more than in 2015. British travellers spent £43.8 billion on visits overseas in 2016, which was 12% more than in 2015.According to British Film Institute (BFI), British Films Shot in abroad have a greater influence on holiday destination selection by general British holiday seekers in all levels.  The above numbers prove that overseas films locations have greater impact on British travellers’ decision making process.

During the three-day event, Sri Lanka Tourism together with Sri Lankan delegation created greater impact with their presentations and fruitful networking sessions.

Making the presentation on film tourism, Chaminda Munasinghe, Assistant Director of VJP at the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau said,“Sri Lanka has been hosting filmmakers from around the world since before the 1950s. Our island nation offers a variety of spectacular locales from misty mountains with lush greenery, natural waterfalls, tropical forests, exotic wildlife and golden sun kissed beaches. Ancient cities and bustling modern cityscapes depicts the architecture of the colonial era, influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Most locations are approximately two hours from each other, making Sri Lanka the ideal film location destination. With our participation for FOCUS, we expect to increase awareness about Sri Lanka as a production hub and showcase our beautiful natural and man-made locations to the UK industry.”

Shyaman Presmasundara of Frames TV & Film Production added: “this event is a great opportunity for the Sri Lankan film industry to reach Europe. Before the war, Sri Lanka was a popular destination for international projects but there are some lingering misconceptions about the level of security in the country. This will take some time to fix, which is why FOCUS is so important for us as a chance to meet international filmmakers and explain what Sri Lanka is really like.”

With the successful participation in FOCUS film location promotional event in London -UK, Sri Lanka Tourism expected to organise a location familiarisation tour program for selected high profile film directors & producers from the British Cinema in order to extend their awareness about the destination and showcase Sri Lanka’s capability to facilitate British Cinema Industry.

SLTPB media correspondent