Mar 25, Colombo: International award winning actress and Member of Sri Lanka Parliament, Malani Fonseka was honored with a tribute on the opening night of the 16th Deauville Asian Film Festival for her contribution to theatre and cinema over the last fifty years.
Ms. Fonseka, widely regarded as the Queen of Sri Lankan Cinema, was felicitated for her multifaceted career as an actress, on stage, in films and on television including her contribution as a director and producer in addition to being a member of international film festival juries.
The President of the Festival, Mr. Lionel Chouchan introduced Ms. Fonseka on the stage and presented the special felicitation award to her.
The Mayor of Deauville, Mr. Philippe Augier, in presenting Ms. Fonseka with the Medal of the City recalled her acting prowess and valued contribution to the film industry of Sri Lanka.
Accepting the award, Ms. Fonseka dedicated it to the people of Sri Lanka and paid homage to the cinema industry in Sri Lanka. She recalled her initial years in the sphere of theatre and drama and those who had helped her, especially her parents who had facilitated her many endeavors and her drama teacher at Gurukula Vidyalaya in Kelaniya.
Despite not receiving formal training in the field of acting, Ms. Fonseka noted that dedication and sheer commitment as well as the opportunity to work with some of the best that Sri Lanka had produced in terms of directors, fellow actors and industry colleagues had resulted in her ability to make a contribution.
In her honour, three Sri Lankan films namely, 'Nidhanaya'' (The Treasure) by Dr. Lester James Peiris, 'Bambaru Awith'' (The Wasps are here) by Dharmasena Pathiraja and 'Akasa Kusum' (Flower of the Sky) by Prasanna Vithanage were screened during the Festival.
For one of her most recent films, 'Akasa Kusum' (Flower of the Sky), Ms. Fonseka was awarded the Silver Peacock for Best Actress at the 39th International Film Festival of India, the Best Actress Award at Italy's Levante International Film Festival, and nominated for Best Performance by an Actress at the 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
Dr. Lester James Peiris and Mrs. Sumithra Peiris were honored in the field of directing in 2001.
Ambassador of Sri Lanka to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Professor Karunaratne Hangawatte was also present on the opening night of the Festival, which ran from 5th to 9th March 2014 in the seaside town of Deauville.
The Sri Lankan national flag was flown at the city center during the week of the Festival. Many renowned actors, directors and reputed personalities in the film industry of France as well as from across Asia attended the Festival.