Lobero Theater hosts Ceylon’s first-ever Sri Lankan International Film Festival
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — Santa Barbara’s historic Lobero Theater hosted the first-ever Sri Lankan Ceylon International Film Festival on Friday.
The three-day event showcased films ranging from documentaries to narratives, the majority of which came from Sri Lankan filmmakers.
CEYIFF was established by two sisters, Founder Arani Boteju and CEYIFF Managing Director Ruwani Horanage, who come from the close Sri Lankan community of Santa Barbara.
“We had no idea this was going to be the first ever international film festival outside of Sri Lanka,” Boteju said. “Basically, we’re making Sri Lankan cinema history. Santa Barbara is making Sri Lankan cinema history.”
There were two free community film screenings on Friday, one aired on Saturday and Sunday.
The opening reception of the film festival hosted local city officials and international representatives from Sri Lanka.
Congressman Salud Carbajal spoke at the closing ceremony of the festival on the final day.
CEYIFF was also honored with a Congressional Certificate by Erica Reyes, a representative from Carbajal’s office.
“Having a reason to visit another city or another country while being able to present your work is a really special feeling,” said city council member Oscar Gutierrez. “There’s no place like Santa Barbara that makes you feel so special.”