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Film Corporation will be modernised – President

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 President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that the outmoded Film Corporation would be transformed using modern technology, and it would be developed into a film and teledrama industries development company in Sri Lanka.

Also, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the importance of providing foreign training opportunities to artistes and production designers. This measure seeks to equip them with the latest technological knowledge, emphasising the need for the film and teledrama industries to embrace modern advancements for future progress.

He further mentioned that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has integrated into the global film industry, and moving forward, the Government will extend support for the production of Sri Lanka’s first AI film. President Wickremesinghe made this statement while addressing the 20th Raigam Tele’es Awards ceremony held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo on Saturday (30).

The annual Raigam Tele’es Awards ceremony, organised by the Raigam Tele’es Secretariat, is based on a concept introduced by Dr. Ravi Liyanage, the President of the Kingdom of Raigam Group and a renowned entrepreneur in the country.

This prestigious event honours excellence in teledramas, media programmes and television news programmes screened during 2023, with over 60 awards presented across seven categories.

President Wickremesinghe joined the Raigam Special Pranama Awards ceremony where veteran artistes Atula Ransirilal, Givantha Arthasad and Grace Thennakoon were honoured with awards presented by the President.

The prestigious ‘Raigam Pratibha Prabha’ Honorary Award, a once-in-a-lifetime recognition, was conferred on Dr. Rohana Weerasinghe by the President. Additionally, veteran actor Mahendra Perera was honoured as the Best Teledrama Actor of the year and Semini Iddamalgoda was recognised as the Best Teledrama Actress of the year. The teledrama ‘Eya Dan Bandala’ directed by Prasanna Jayakody and produced by Wasantha Kannangara, received accolades from the President for Best Teledrama Director of the year and also as the Best Teledrama of the year.

Moreover, both Hiru TV and Sirasa TV were jointly recognized by the President as the award-winning media programme channels of the year. Additionally, the Independent Television Network (ITN) which secured awards for both the award-winning Teledrama Channel of the year and the award-winning Channel of the year was also honoured by the President.

The awards ceremony was vibrant, featuring performances by seasoned singers and actors.

President Wickremesinghe, who took part in a group photo with all the award recipients from the arts and journalism fields, also engaged in a pleasant conversation with the guests, including veteran artistes and singers.

During his speech at the Raigam Tele’es Awards ceremony, President Wickremesinghe said, “The awards ceremony, initiated by the Raigam Group, is celebrating its 20th anniversary today. I would like to thank the Raigam Group for their contribution to this awards ceremony. I extend my gratitude to the Raigam Group for their valuable contributions to this event.

“Over the last 20 years, there has been a significant revolution in television. Nowadays, television faces competition from mobile phones and laptops. The world is advancing with platforms like Netflix and Amazon. We need to keep pace with these developments. Many countries are producing films in multiple languages, including smaller nations like Greece. We should also pay attention to this. It is essential for us to take note of these trends and adapt accordingly.

“Hence, our primary focus is on modernising the outmoded Film Corporation and transforming it into a film and teledrama development entity. It is worth mentioning that we are actively working to facilitate the required expertise for this transition. During the inception of television, numerous individuals were offered training opportunities in Japan, which resulted in the emergence of new teledramas such as ‘Yasoravaya’ during that period. We want to emphasise that we will be revisiting and working on similar initiatives in the near future.

“Furthermore, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a part of the film industry since last year. ‘The Frost’ short film is an example of a production created using AI, including the screenplay. India is also producing the ‘Maharaja in Denims’, which will soon be introduced in Sri Lanka. It is imperative for us to make preparations for these advancements as well.

“I have instructed the committee that we appointed for the introduction of artificial intelligence in Sri Lanka to collaborate with the University of Moratuwa in producing Sri Lanka’s first AI film. It should be noted that the Government is working to provide funding for this.

“In this way, the film industry is undergoing a change that we did not anticipate. I invite everyone to embark on a new journey by modernising the film corporation and creating the first AI film.”

Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana, Professor Sunil Ariyaratne, Professor J.B. Dissanayake, numerous distinguished guests, veteran actresses including Swarna Mallavarachchi, singers, artistes, film directors, producers, and several renowned guests were present.

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