Sumitra Peries

Infobox Actor

name = Sumitra Peries
imagesize =
birthdate = birth date|1935|3|24|mf=y
location = flagicon|Sri Lanka Avissawella , Sri Lanka
deathdate =
deathplace =
spouse = Lester James Peries
influenced = Lester James Peries

Sumitra Peries (born March 24, 1935) is a Sri Lankan filmmaker and Sri Lanka's Ambassadar to France in late 1990's. Her most popular film is "Ganga Addara" and married to a famouse film director Lester James Peries.cite news| url=|title=Profile:( |publisher=(|date=12 January,2008] cite news| url=|title=Sumitra Peries a female idol |publisher=Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka)|date=22 September,2002]


Early life

Sumitra Gunawardena (birth name) was born on March 24th 1935 to a Marxist family known as Boralugoda Gunewardenas in Avissawella. Her father, Henry (better known as Harry) Gunawardena was a proctor in Avissawella and mother, Harriette Wickramasinghe was from a middle class family. Three of Sumitra's relatives - Dinesh Gunawardena, Geethanjana Gunawardena and Prasanna Gunawardena are still in Sri Lankan politics today.

When Sumitra was 14 years her mother died. At that time her brother, Gamini, five years elder to her and sister, Chandralatha, four years elder than her, and also younger brother Ranjith. The tragedy of their mother's death her elder brother Gamini went to south of France and lived in a yacht with a French painter.

Sumitra began her education in Avissawella, then later enrolled to Visakha Vidyalaya in Colombo and finally joined the Aquinas College Colombo to do the London Advanced Level.

At the age of 20 Sumitra find some amount of money and travelled to Europe by ship to meet her elder brother Gamini there to build her own career there.cite news| url=|title=A celebration between two celebrities |publisher=Daily News (Sri Lanka)|date=19 October,2002]

Personal life

Sumitra married Lester James Peries on June 19th 1964 All Saints Church.


With advice of her brother Gamini she studied French in Laussanne, Switzerland in 1950's. She met Lester there and he was to screen his first film Rekava at the Cannes Film Festival and Lester advised her to study movie making in London rather than in France.

She studied film making at the London School of Film Technique and was awarded a Diploma in Film Direction and Production (1957-1959). She was the only woman studying this subject there at that time. After passing out, she began working at Mai Harris, a subtitling firm for a short period and returned back to home in Sri Lanka.

Sumitra's brother Gamini contacted Lester and checked the possibility of her sister to work with him. Lester agreed and Sumitra started the work as assistant director in his second film Sandesaya. A filmmaking company called Cinelanka was established in 1963 with Anton Wickramasinghe also Lester and Sumitra as major shareholders. In 1980's Sumitra was a member of the Presidential Commission for two years to conducted an inquiry into Sri Lanka's film sector regarding all aspects of the industry such as its troubles, statistics, public opinions and recommendations.

She was in charge of production for Worldview International in Sri Lanka in period of 1988-1990. Also during the period of late 1980s and early 1990s, she was a member of the Board of Management of the Institute of Aesthetique Studies, Kelaniya University, Sri Lanka and Prof A J Gunewardena was the Director General of the Institute at that time.

Sumitra has been working as Sri Lanka's Ambassador to France won the award for the best film director in fifty (50) years of Sri Lankan cinema.cite news| url=|title=Keeping in touch with the French|publisher=Sunday Times (Sri Lanka, ISSN:1391-0531)|date=19 October,1997]


Sumitra Peries latest cinema venture is Yahaluwo (Best Friends) released in December 2007.cite news|url=|title=Fascinating facet of genuine original art|publisher=Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka)|date=16 December,2007]


International awards

*Carthage International Film Festival - "Gehenu Lamai" - Diploma of Merit (1978), shared the jury award with Mirinal Sen of India.cite news| url=|title=Gehenu Lamai (1977)|publisher=(|date=12 January,2008]
*London Film Festival - "Gehenu Lamai" - Outstanding Film of the Year (1978)
*South Asian Film Festival in Tokyo, Japan - "Ganga Addara" - Diploma
*Moscow International Film Festival - "Yahalu Yeheli" - Diploma (1984), purchased by a German television channel in 1986
*Filmex International Film Festival, Los Angeles - "Yahalu Yeheli" - Diploma (1985)
*International Film Festival, Tokyo - "Sagara Jalaya" - One of the Ten Best Films, purchased by a Japanese television station
*Nantes International Film Festival - "Loku Duwa" - Diploma (1993)
*Fukuoka International Film Festival - "Loku Duwa" (1994)
*London Film Festival - "Duwata Mawaka Misa" - Diploma (1998)
*International Film Festival, India - "Duwata Mawaka Misa" (1998)
*Fukuoka International Film Festival - "Duwata Mawaka Misa" (1998)
*Golden Lotus - Deauville Award for "Contribution to Asian Cinema" (2001)

National awards

Best Editor:

*Gamperaliya - Sarasaviya Film Awards (1964)
*Delovak Athara - Sarasaviya Film Awards (1967)
*Ahasin Polawata - Presidential Awards (1979) & OCIC Awards (1979)
*Bakmaha Deege - Critics Awards (1971)

Best Director:

*Ganga Addara - Sarasaviya Film Awards (1981) & Presidential Awards (1981)
*Yahalu Yeheli - Presidential Awards (1983) & OCIC Awards (1983)
*Maya - Sarasaviya Film Awards (1984) & National Award for Best Film and Best Director in 1986.
*Sagara Jalaya - OCIC Awards (1989) & Swarna Sanka Awards (1988)
*Loku Duwa - Presidential Awards (1989) & Sarasaviya Silver Jubilee Awards (1988)
*Duwata Mawaka Misa Presidential Awards (1996)

*Zonta Arthur C Clark Award for Communication (1988)

*Rana Thisara Lifetime Achievement Award (1993)cite news| url=|title=Achievements
publisher=(|date=12 January,2008


See also

* [ Sri Lankan Non Career Diplomats]

External links

* [ Female genius behind the camera]
* [ Official Website of Lester James Peries in association with Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Sri Lanka]

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