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Lobero Theatre hosts first-ever Sri Lankan Ceylon International film festival

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — The historic Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara hosted the first-ever Sri Lankan Ceylon International Film Festival on Friday.

The three day event showcased films ranging from documentaries to narratives, which a majority came from Sri Lankan film makers.

CEYIFF was created by two sisters, founder Arani Boteju and CEYIFF managing director Ruwani Horanage, who come from Santa Barbara's tight-nit Sri Lankan community.

"We had no idea that this was going to be the very first international film festival ever done outside of Sri Lanka," said Boteju. "Basically, we are making history for Sri Lankan cinema. Santa Barbara is making history for Sri Lanka cinema."

There were two free community film screenings on Friday, one was shown on Saturday and Sunday.

The film festival's opening reception welcomed local city officials and international representatives from Sri Lanka.

Congressman Salud Carbajal spoke at the festival's closing night ceremony on the last 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 at the same time being able to showcase your work is a really special feeling," said City council member Oscar Gutierrez. "There is no other place than Santa Barbara that makes you feel that much special."

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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Bryan Hernandez

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