Sri Lanka’s growing status as a top international film location ‘helping to promote tourism’


David Lean’s epic Bridge On The River Kwai helped put Sri Lanka firmly on the map, not only as a superb film location but also as a must-visit tropical tourism destination.

That was 60 years ago, and film-making and global tourism have now moved onwards and upwards, with Sri Lanka increasingly in the vanguard of both.

The DailyFT reports that Sri Lanka Tourism played a prominent role at the recent Focus Film Location Show in London, with an emphasis on promoting Sri Lanka as an ideal film location for the British cinema industry.

It quotes international filmmaker Chandran Rutnam as saying that Bridge On The River Kwai was considered to be one of the top 10 films ever made by the global cinema industry.

And says the British Film Institute: “British films shot abroad have a greater influence on holiday destination selection by general British holiday seekers at all levels”.

Chaminda Munasinghe at the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau told Focus: “Our island nation offers a variety of spectacular locales from misty mountains with lush greenery, natural waterfalls, tropical forests, exotic wildlife and golden sun kissed beaches.”

“Ancient cities and bustling modern cityscapes depicts the architecture of the colonial era, influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.

“Most locations are approximately two hours from each other, making Sri Lanka the ideal film location destination.

“With our participation at Focus, we expect to increase awareness about Sri Lanka as a production hub and showcase our beautiful natural and man-made locations to the UK industry.”

Shyaman Presmasundara of Sri Lankan production company Frames TV & Film Production added: “This event is a great opportunity for the Sri Lankan film industry to reach Europe.

“Before the war, Sri Lanka was a popular destination for international projects but there are some lingering misconceptions about the level of security in the country.

“This will take some time to fix, which is why Focus is so important for us as a chance to meet international filmmakers and explain what Sri Lanka is really like.”

Another Sri Lankan production service company Crew For Shoots recently filmed a commercial starring Diane Kruger at multiple locations in Sri Lanka, including Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Ella and Haputale.

Says producer Priyanga Kumarasiri: “Her travel and accommodation arrangements were of key concern to the agency and clients. A seaplane, helicopter, luxury SUV and suites in luxury resorts were all on standby during the four-day shoot.”

Kumarasiri is president of the International Film Producers’ Association, which has a mission to standardise the quality of service offered by local companies.

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