The Ceylon International Film Festival Kicks Off Tuesday Evening

Ceylon International Film Festival in 2022 (courtesy)

The second edition of the Ceylon International Film Festival (CEYIFF) starts Tuesday night. It is the only film festival outside Sri Lanka to feature Sri Lankan films.

The brainchild of locals Aruni Boteju and Ruwani Horanage, last year’s festival received a lot of attention both here and in Sri Lanka and India.

If you are looking for some cinematic adventure, CEYIFF is the place to be.  This year, its programming includes engrossing films from around the world as well as Sri Lanka, with free screenings of most films.

The agenda for CEYIFF this year is:

CEYIFF Schedule

Tuesday, October 24 to Friday, October 27, 4:30 pm (Direct Relief International, Goleta)

Daily films screenings and Q&As will occur from Tuesday, October 24 to Friday, October 27, starting at 4:30 pm at Direct Relief International (DRI).  DRI has a beautiful space and comfortable screening room as well as free parking.

In the spirit of cultural exchange, admission to these film screenings and panel talks is free and we encourage everyone in the community to attend.

No ticket is required, you can just show up.  Ceylon tea will be served at the screenings.

The list of films can be found in the program guide here.

Time:  October 24 – 27, 4:30 pm daily

Where:  Direct Relief International Headquarters, Hatch Hall, 6100 Wallace Becknell Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Saturday, October 28, (Lobero Theater)

CEYIFF 2023 concludes on Saturday, October 28 at the historic Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara, with a full day program:

1:30 pm (Film Screening):  There will be a film screening at 1:30 pm of the classic Sri Lankan film, a Rainy Day.

Synopsis:  “A social drama set in the cool upcountry, Rainy Day (‘Wehi Dawasa’) tells the intertwining story of impoverished Elisa and Theja, who go to a hospital to get desperately needed medicine, and a team of dramatists from Colombo traveling to perform their final show. In the meantime, the wife of the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer is busy getting ready to meet her heartthrob who happens to be main star in the drama.”

4:30 pm (Awards Gala):   A red carpet Awards Gala follows the film screening at 4:30 pm.   This unique event features a variety of music, dance and cinematic performances by renowned Sri Lankan, South Indian and Hispanic artists.  The evening will also include celebration of CEYIFF’s award winners as well as the giving of lifetime achievement awards to Sri Lankan film icons, Mudaliayaka Somarathna and Bhadraji Mahinda Jaythilaka.

Performers include:

  • Spoorithi Jitender (Los Angeles)  – Sri Lankan film “playback singer”
  • Rose Marie Cruz Dance (Santa Barbara) – Interdisciplinary dance academy
  • Alma de Mexico (Santa Barbara) – Ballet Folklorico dance group
  • Savithri Dance Academy (Los Angeles) – Indian Classical dance
  • Dewmini Wickramaranthna (Los Angeles) – Sri Lankan Kandyan dance

7:30 pm (Reception):  The night concludes with a reception in the Lobero Courtyard with food and drink from local purveyors, starting at 7:30.

Closing day tickets can be purchased at the Lobero box office:  805-963-0761, Ceylon Int’l Film Festival – Lobero Theatre

Further information can be found on the website.

Ceylon Film Festival Schedule 2023

Mahil Senathirajah

Written by Mahil Senathirajah

Mahil Senathirajah is an independent film consultant and contributing writer to

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