SAARC Cultural Center observed the 36th SAARC Charter Day on the 8th of December 2020 at the Centre premises in a very charming, yet in an elegant manner to embrace the decisive steps taken by the Heads of Eight Member States to develop South Asia’s unique identity through its Cooperation towards each member state. This day marks the adoption of SAARC Charter which reckoned the establishment of South Asia’s Regional Cooperation (SAARC) at its very first Summit meeting held in Dhaka in 1985 with the inaugural participation of all the Heads of States.

As we celebrate the 36th year of commemoration, Member States of the SAARC show cased the re-affirmation of their strong commitment towards fostering the mutual connectivity within the region and stabilizing the regional ties. It recognizes the determination and commitment of the Member States of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in furthering the acceleration of socio economic and cultural development in the region.

Through out the past decade, with the establishment of SAARC Cultural Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2009, with the gracious imagination and the Great Vision and Mission of the former President His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksha (presently the Honourable Prime Minister and the Honourable Minister of Buddha Sasana and Cultural Affairs) it has been functioning as the Centre par Excellence in restoring, developing and promoting the culture and its distinctive aspects of the region through a variety of activities and Research to facilitate the cultural development within the region. The Centre has paved the path for many cultural programmes intending to cultivate the mutuality in cultural cooperation. SAARC Charter Day, one of the highlights in the Calendar of Activities of the Centre, marks and symbolizes the utmost commitment and the accomplishment of the Member States in pursuing and attaining its goals.

However, the year 2020 witnessed a reception attended by a limited number of officials representing the SAARC Cultural Centre, due to the prevailing COVID-19 Pandemic situation as it affected the activities of proposed by the Center as well. Therefore, the 36th SAARC Charter Day was not grandeur as it was before, and held keeping the health guidelines issued by the respective authorities of the host country and the instructions given by the SAARC Secretariat.

Thus, the reception commenced with the Director’s welcome of the officials of the SAARC Cultural Centre, and a brief of the History and significance of the SAARC Charter Day. Thereafter, she orated the Message of His Excellency the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Click here) The President has made a special reference to the recent efforts taken in establishing and moderating SAARC COVID-19 emergency fund and its operationalization. Further he has reaffirmed the continuous support and firm commitment to the SAARC process and progress.

Following the oration of the His Excellency the President, she orated the message sent by the Honourable Prime Minister and the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Cultural Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. The speech made the point of placing utmost commitment to make the regional mechanism dynamic and result oriented for the benefit of common progress of the region. Further the message noted Sri Lanka’s full and firm commitment to taking forward the organisation and its principles (Click here).She further orated the message sent by His Excellency the Secretary General of the SAARC. Mr. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon. His message marked the appreciation towards the initiative of SAARC Covid-19 emergency fund and commended the continuous efforts of the Member States in mitigating the Covid-19 pandemic (Click here).

Later, the Director invited the Deputy Director for Programmes to read out the message sent by the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. He made a special reference highlighting Sri Lanka’s cooperation and firm determination in achieving shared vision of achieving prosperity for the people of the region (Click here).

Following the oration of the felicitation messages, the reception concluded with serving of refreshments to the officials present.


SAARC Film Festival

SAARC Film Festival will be held from 22nd to 26th September 2020 in Sri Lanka. The Festival which is acclaimed for being the platform for regional engagement for the South Asian film fraternity will witness its 10th Edition this year. SCC has been working on the realignment of the festival format and the due precautionary measures to comply to the prevailing challenges.

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2020


About the Exhibition

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2020 was held at the Senaka Bandaranayake Hall, University of Kelaniya on the 23rd of August 2020. The event was organised by the SAARC Cultural Centre in collaboration with the University of Kelaniya ensuring the health measures in place.

The exhibition was a culmination of the SAARC Artist Camp held at the Maldives in 2019. The camp was conceptualized around the theme ‘Oceans, a binding treasure of South Asia’ and ‘Cultures and Confluences of Creativity’. 26 artists from the Member States of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka participated enthusiastically to express themselves through colours and brush strokes. They drew inspiration from the theme and expressed themselves in the form of paintings.

These artworks consisted of a variety of genres, techniques and mediums. One can enjoy the vast and multi-fold appeal of the mother nature delineated through delightful visions. Though the ‘Oceans’ remains as the binding and common inspiration for the artists yet each artwork entails a narrative of its respective creator. The un-spoken is carefully crafted to bring forth the essence, joy and serenity of the ocean. The underline tale of the shared cultural heritage and values are bespoken through seascapes, calligraphy, abstract landscapes and figurative visions. Most of the artists have chosen oil as their medium, whereas  few paintings made with mixed media and acrylic adds variety to the exposition.


Exhibition Catalog pdf-icon



SAARC International Women’s Day

i.    Date: 8th March 2020
ii.   Venue: Bangladesh
iii.  Programme: Non-Participatory
iv.  Theme: “Women in Handicraft sector of Bangladesh

8th of March is observed as the SAARC International women’s Day coinciding with the International Women’s Day celebrations held around the globe. This year, the Centre organizes this programme in association with the Ministry of Women and Child affairs of Bangladesh. The 2020 programme aims at recognising “Women in Handicraft sector of Bangladesh”.

Handicrafts of Bangladesh can be traced back to the time immemorial and it includes textile, metal works, jewelry, woodworks, clay, pottery and jute products. Over the time, the handicrafts of Bangladesh have gained much attention and still in the momentum of acquiring recognition around the globe. Women play a predominant role in the handicraft sector of Bangladesh comprising of self-employed & home-based workers. As this year’s celebrations are taking place in Bangladesh, the role of women in Handicrafts sector of Bangladesh will be highlighted.

The focus of the programme is a Forum of discussion titled ‘Expression of Womanhood through Handicrafts’. This forum is expected to generate productive outcomes that would be instrumental in the development of Handicrafts sector. Significantly to discuss matters which are more relevant to the handicraft sector in the region of South Asia; like using online platform for marketing, highlighting sustainable materials of the handicrafts, relating crafts and folk-tales.  The programme will acknowledge prominent women personalities from the Handicraft sector of Bangladesh. The key note address will focus on prospective aspects of crafts as the only alternative for sustainable life products. Through this Forum, speakers will be sharing their life journey as artisans: their challenges and successes. The SAARC Cultural Centre strongly believes that this interactive platform would facilitate the exchange of experiences and will spark the motivation and confidence among the women aspirants.

SAARC Handicraft Exhibition & Workshop 2019 Nepal

Venue: Patan Durbar, Lalitpur Metropolitan City, Nepal
Date: 8th – 12th September 2019

Known for its rich traditional culture, the SAARC member state of Nepal has an exquisite history of handicrafts and has produced several types of artefacts created from various materials such as wood, stone, metal and fabric. Many traditional arts and crafts continue to take place in the present day, including painting, woodwork, weaving, sculpture, handicrafts with silver and other metals and paper crafts. The wooden and stone carvings that appear in abundance in and around popular heritage sights and places of worship, with their intricate work and attention to detail, are excellent examples of the expertise of Nepalese handicraftsmen and women, passed down from generation to generation.

The tradition of craftsmanship is still preserved in Nepal, ranging from textile-based handicrafts such as Pashminas, wool, hemp, felt, silk and cotton, to non-textile-based handicrafts such as creations made of wood, stone, metal, leather, bone, horn, ceramics, bamboo and handmade paper products. Traditional Dhaka fabric is widely considered the pride of Nepal. This rich local textile is woven with attractive bright colours with striking combinations which are then fashioned into different garments for men and women in a variety of weaves. These are worn extensively, and with great pride as an identifying craft of the Nepalese people. Woodcraft is perhaps one of the oldest and most popular forms of handicraft in Nepal and is practiced and passed down the generations by the distinguished clan of Newar and still holds pride of place amongst the artistic treasures of Nepal.

The SAARC Cultural Centre will celebrate this rich tradition of handicrafts and artistry with the honoured Member State of Nepal and will conduct the SAARC Handicraft Exhibition and Workshop between the 8th to 12th of September 2019 for a period of 4 days at Lalitpur in Nepal. This Programme will provide a suitable platform for the Exhibition of handmade treasures from the South Asian Region and to provide the creators of these valuable pieces of the Regions’ Heritage, a forum for discussion, interaction and exchange of valuable tools and knowledge of the trade, within an atmosphere of friendship and Regional Cooperation.

The cultural experience of sharing and exploring the handmade treasures of the Region through the SAARC Handicraft Exhibition and Workshop, has been a popular Programme within the SAARC Cultural Centre calendar and has been conducted and received in several SAARC Member States with great enthusiasm. This programme has given emphasis to the creative and clever craftsmen and women, giving them an opportunity to exhibit their products, meet other artisans from the Region and to discuss new trends and techniques within the industry.

In addition to an Exhibition and the display of crafts, there will also be the additional aim of promoting the exchange of knowledge and technical expertise amongst its artisans and to promote the development of new designs and products which are appropriate and attractive to the demands of the new world market. Lying at crossroads between the arts, business and technology, the creative industries sector comprises a large variety of creative fields, from those heavily industrialised such as advertising and marketing, broadcasting, film industries etc, to those which are less so, like cultural industries. This sector is increasingly important for the benefit of the people of the Region, from the perspective of heritage preservation and economic terms, and the SAARC Cultural Centre is committed to assisting the Region to realise its full potential.

In keeping with the Mandate of the SAARC Cultural Centre, cooperation in the field of product development and the promotion of cultural products amongst the Member States has been a consistent feature in the Programmes conducted by the Centre. Development of creative cultural enterprises and creative industries, promoting cultural product development, creation of market opportunities, exchange of information and networking arrangements is in accordance with the underlying principal of encouraging better cultural understanding between the SAARC Member States.

Through this Programme, the SAARC Cultural Centre hopes to create an opportunity to promote local handicrafts and craftsmen of the Region, facilitate the exchange of techniques and knowhow through workshops and interaction, develop the data base of information for future reference and encourage fellowship and renewed interest in the traditional and innovative handicrafts of the SAARC Region.

SAARC Photography Competition: Reflections of Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Dance in South Asia

The theme of the SAARC Photography Competition is “Tangible and Intangible Heritage of Dance”.  This includes photographs of classical, folk, ritualistic, regional, etc., dance performances as well as the traditions, beliefs and rituals associated with dance in each Member State of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  The costumes, jewellery, makeup, accompanied instruments, etc., associated with dance captured as an image will reflect the tangible heritage aspect of dance.

2.1    To record the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Dance of South Asia.
2.2    To form a collection of photographs of South Asian Dance to be used for future SAARC Cultural Centre exhibitions.
2.3    To encourage the development of photography of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Region.
2.4    To provide an opportunity for the photographers of the SAARC Region to showcase their talents within the Region.
2.5    To maintain a digital archive of the intangible heritage of South Asia at the SAARC Cultural Centre.
2.6    To hold an exhibition with the best photos received to share the wonder of dance in the SAARC Region.
2.7    To use the photographs in the Cultural Calendar for 2020 of the SAARC Cultural Centre.

3.1    Only citizens of SAARC Member States can participate.
3.2    The decision of the Panel of Judges and the SAARC Cultural Centre is final.
3.3    Each entrant can submit up to three images for the competition.  The photographs will be judged as a single image and not as a series of images.
3.4    Images can reflect either the tangible heritage of dance, intangible heritage of dance or both aspects of dance.
3.5    Each entry must be accompanied by the Registration Form attached here as Annexure 1.
3.6    Each image should be no smaller than 1MB and no larger than 5MB and 300dpi.
3.7    Images should be JPEG files and should be emailed to the SAARC Cultural Centre.  Other photo formats will not be accepted or considered for the competition.
3.8    All images must be saved in the RGB colour model.
3.9    The entries should not contain any commercial content or any other products or services.
3.10    Photographs with watermarks or credits will not be accepted.
3.11    No animals should be harmed or manipulated in the making of the image.
3.12    Photographs manipulated using digital software such as photoshop, etc., will not be accepted.

4.1    The SAARC Cultural Centre reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify and remove any entry that does not comply with the requirements of the SAARC Cultural Centre stated above (3.1 to 3.12).
4.2    The award-winning photographs will be published in the Cultural Calendar 2020 of the SAARC Cultural Centre and displayed at exhibitions and events of the SAARC Cultural Centre.
4.3    The photographer of the image will retain the copyright of the entry. If the image is used in the activities of SAARC Cultural Centre, the images will carry the name of the photographer.
4.4    SAARC Member States will retain the right to reject photographs if considered inappropriate representation of the Member State.
4.5    The SAARC Cultural Centre will retain the right to use the images for the activities of the SAARC Cultural Centre (Publications, exhibitions, etc.).

A Panel of Judges will select the 4 best photographs submitted from among all entries received.
First Place is a cash prize of US$ 500 (or equivalent in local currency) and a certificate.
Second PlaceUS$ 400 (or equivalent in local currency) and a certificate.
Third PlaceUS$ 300 (or equivalent in local currency) and a certificate.
Fourth PlaceUS$ 200 (or equivalent in local currency) and a certificate.
Certificates of commendation will be awarded to selected 8 photographs (one from each Member State, other than the winners mentioned above).

Winners will be informed by email on 30th November 2019.

6.1    All images and Registration Forms should be emailed to before 31st October 2019.
6.2    For further queries please contact

SAARC Film Festival 2019

Date     : 2nd to 7th July 2019
Venue  : National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Sri Lanka

SAARC Cultural Centre successfully conducted the Ninth SAARC Film Festival from 2nd to 7th of July 2019 at the National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka. The Festival was held for six consecutive days screening 34 films comprising of 15 Feature Films, 13 Short Films and 6 Master Films from the SAARC Member States of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Film Festival, which was a diverse celebration of cinematic creations through the medium of film, is an annual highlight of the Centre’s Calendar of activities. This year also the festival became an event for promotion, celebration and enjoyment of some of the best films from the South Asian Region.

2nd July 2019 at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Inauguration Ceremony of the Ninth SAARC Film Festival took place at the Cinema Hall of the National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka. The Chief Guest for the event was Hon. Dr. Harsha De Silva, Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Sri Lanka. Distinguished Representatives from the SAARC Member States including film industry professionals from the Member States of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka were amongst the distinguished gathering. Moreover, Dignitaries from multitude of disciplines were present at the ceremony. The Inauguration Ceremony began with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp to the beat of the traditional Sri Lankan drums. The Chief Guest and other distinguished invitees were ceremoniously led to the hall by the traditional drums and dance ensemble.

Ms. Renuka Ekanayake, Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre delivering the welcome address emphasized the significance of film making as a globally powerful form of art. She further added that the SAARC Film Festival is one of the most important cultural events keeping in line with the main objectives of SAARC Cultural Centre in promoting cultural cooperation amongst the Member States. Honourable Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution expressed his views relating to the government’s role in supporting the local film industry.

A three-member International Jury comprising Mr. Hassan Nazer (Iran, Head of the Jury), Ms. Milana Majar (Bosnia), and Mr. Emmanuel Dela Cruz (Philippines) were formally introduced by Mr. Dhanushka Gunathileke, Consultant of the Ninth SAARC Film Festival.

The First Film screened of the festival was the Master Film Padmaavat nominated by the honoured Member State of India.

5th July 2019 at the Colombo Film and Television Academy

A Master Class was organised to coincide with the Ninth SAARC Film Festival on the 5th July 2019 at the Colombo Film and Television Academy. The topic under discussion was “Why do we need funding for independent Cinema”. The Master Class was introduced by Mr. Dhanushka Gunathileke, followed by a presentation from Head of the Jury Mr. Hassan Nazer. Mr. Nazer, an award-winning Film Director as well as a Jury Member at many international film festivals, shared his experiences and knowledge related to the theme. Ms. Milana Majar, Jury Member from Bosnia presented her views on the topic sharing her knowledge and experience in funding for Independent Cinema. Ms. Majar is a journalist, screenwriter and a film director with many documentary films to her credit. Mr. Emmanuel Dela Cruz from the Philippines shared his experience of Independent Cinema in Asia. Mr. Dela Cruz is a versatile screenwriter, filmmaker, theater artist, graphic artist and songwriter of international repute.

The Master Class provided an opportunity to young filmmakers of Sri Lanka to develop an understanding of the possibilities available for Independent Cinema and learn from experienced Film professionals. An interesting discussion followed the presentations where the international panel was able to share their knowledge of other topics related to cinema.

2nd to 7th July 2019 at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

A total of 34 films comprising of 15 Feature Films, 13 Short Films and 6 Master Films nominated by SAARC Member States took place from 2nd to 7th July 2019 at the Cinema Hall of the National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka. Entrance was free to the public. It was a rare opportunity for audience members to view some of the best films from across the SAARC region.

7th July 2019 at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The Closing and the Awards Ceremony of the Ninth SAARC Film Festival was held on the 7th July 2019 at the Cinema Hall of the National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka. The Chief Guest for the ceremony was Hon. J. C. Alawathuwala, State Minister of Internal & Home Affairs and Provincial Councils and Local Government of Sri Lanka. Secretary General of SAARC, H.E. Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial was the Guest of Honour. The Secretary General of SAARC in his address stated that the region’s films have the potential to showcase facets of the South Asian experience to the outside world, as well as promoting our rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes.

Among the distinguished audience at the closing ceremony were Members of Diplomatic Corps of SAARC Member States in Colombo, Professionals from the Film Industry, other industries and film enthusiasts, etc. At the Awards Ceremony the Jury Members explained their collective deliberations on the selection of the winners. The Ceremony featured several cultural items including a traditional dance item and a drum fusion performance.

The winning film “NAGARKIRTAN” was screened after the Awards Ceremony.
The Ninth SAARC Film Festival 2019 was a very successful event. This festival featured some of the best and award-winning films of the Region, enabling the audience to enjoy the creative visual culture depicting social, cultural, political, etc., issues of South Asia portrayed through the cinematic lenses. The SAARC Cultural Centre was able to create a platform for the film industry professionals to learn from each other through the films and the masterclass. The ideas and knowledge exchanged and obtained from the international panel of Jury enabled the filmmakers to further develop their craft. The friendships developed during the festival has laid the seeds for future collaborations within the Region. The films also created an awareness the issues of the Region, providing an enriching experience and an understanding of the different countries of the Region.

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2019 – Sri Lanka

Date      : 22nd – 24th January 2019
Venue   : Senaka Bandaranayake Hall, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka,

The SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2019, was conducted successfully at the Senaka Bandaranayake Hall, University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka from the 22nd – 24th of January 2019.

The Exhibition of Paintings displayed the diverse painting and artistic talents of the SAARC Region with a collection of over 50 paintings from the SAARC Member States of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The paintings on display formed a stunning array of artistic talents and creative vision by representatives from the participating member states, consisting of artists young and mature, traditional and contemporary, male and female, the famous and the undiscovered. These meaningful and vibrant works of art, showcasing the beauty of our diverse Region, were immortalised on canvas by representatives of the SAARC Member States. The paintings on display were the result of a consolidated effort over the years to bring together painters from the Region, to create such works of art, under the auspices of the SAARC Artists Camp.

The respective Host Member State provided beautiful and inspiring surroundings in which to conduct these SAARC Artists Camps, and where possible, the input and guidance of modern-day Masters. A majority of the paintings on display for this Exhibition were the results of the SAARC Artists Camp and Exhibition of Paintings 2018, conducted in Sri Lanka, under the themes, “South Asian Splendour” and “Vibrant Tranquillity”. The sceneries brought to life by our SAARC Artists, display their creative inspirations which flourish at this annual event organised by the SAARC Cultural Centre


Honoured dignitaries from the SAARC Member States of Nepal and Pakistan and the Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka, learned academics, Chairperson of the National Craft Council and other distinguished invitees, were welcomed onto the premises of the University in a traditional Sri Lankan manner.

The inauguration ceremony commenced with the traditional lighting of the oil lamp led by the Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre, Ms. Renuka Ekanayake and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya, Professor D.M. Semasinghe, followed by Mr. Intisar Sulhery, Press Attaché of the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, Ms. Dhana Kumari Joshi, First Secretary of the Embassy of Nepal in Sri Lanka, Ms. Thiloma Abayajeewa, Acting Deputy Director from SAARC Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Senior Professor Lakshman Senevirathne, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Patrick Rathnayake, Professor Anura Manatunga, Senior professor in Archaeology, the Head of the Department of Fine Arts Prof. Prashanthi Narangoda, Chairperson of the National Craft Council, Ms. Heshani Bogollagama, Librarian of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Dr. Nayana Wijayasundara, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Mr. Vijitha Nandakumara, Director, National Research Council, the Deputy Director (Programmes) of the SAARC Cultural Centre, Mrs. Kishani Jayasinghe – Wijayasekara, the Deputy Director for Research Ms. Bindu Urugodawatte, the Culture Specialist for Programmes, Dr. Soumya Chavan and other distinguished guests.

The Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre, addressed the audience with a welcome speech, followed by the address of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya. This was followed by a traditional dance, presented by the students of the Fine Arts department. The first segment of formalities ended with the vote of thanks delivered by the Deputy Director of Programmes. The distinguished guests were then invited to proceed to the main entrance of the Senaka Bandaranayake Hall, where the participating officials from the SAARC Member States and other relevant guests officially declared open the 2019 SAARC Exhibition of Paintings. Thereafter, the honoured guests enjoyed the vibrant and diverse displays of art from the SAARC Member States. A commemorative brochure was produced for the Programme, which was distributed to all distinguished guests present.

ART THERAPY WORKSHOPS – “Creative and Expressive Art

The Centre conducted several auxiliary events to enhance the appreciation of art and the overall productivity of the SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2019. The events consisted of Art Therapy Workshops on the 23rd of January 2019, and Lectures on Paintings and Art followed by discussions on the 24th of January 2019.

The Art Therapy Workshops were conducted by professional art therapist, Ms. Shimali Perera on the 23rd of January, titled “Creative and Expressive Art”. The Event was attended by Mr. Mohammad Hazrat Ali Khan, Counsellor, Embassy of Bangladesh in Sri Lanka. There were three sessions which promoted creative self-expression at a symbolic and metaphoric level. This was achieved through innovative use of art media, leading to a greater understanding of self. The underlying objective of the workshops, was to create a space where participants were given an opportunity to creatively express themselves and to provide an introspective self-awareness through the creative use of art media. The workshops were conducted using an informal approach, and designed to encourage exploring one’s inner strengths through the creative use of art and imagination. These workshops were organised with a variety of participants in mind, with a particular focus on art students and the youth. The sessions brought about a positive outcome which left the participants with an increased sense of confidence, esteem and awareness.

The lectures and discussions on painting and art took place on the 24th of January, and were conducted by Professor Patrick Rathnayake, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Professor Anura Manatunga, senior professor of Archaeology, both from the University of Kelaniya. The lectures were valuable and addressed relevant and interesting subject matter relating to art, culture and the overall effect it has on life, learning and success.

The SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2019, was concluded in a successful manner, achieving its objectives and displaying positive outcomes. The Centre was able to promote regional unity through the medium of art, showcase inherent aspects of the heritage of the SAARC Member States and to promote and protect South Asia’s culture through art.

It was a fitting tribute to the celebration of South Asian art and artists and achieved its objective of spreading unity, culture and greater understanding through art and culture.


Ninth SAARC Film Festival Award Winners

Ninth SAARC Film Festival 2019

For its most sensitive and delicate employment of the emphatic power of cinema, not just in depicting truth but understanding beyond prejudice, cultural, religious and gender borders.

For its playful yet vital depiction of the young generation, searching within the deep cultural bias, and finally finding balance in understanding the moral code of right and wrong.

For taking full reins in giving humanity, nuance, colour, exigency, impetus and form to a narrative of beautiful sexual identity and self-creation, beyond the tragedies of social prejudices.

For its courage to finally speak the truth about real events behind closed doors, the complex and corrosive relationship between government law and customary law and the unspoken but systemic depiction of injustice against a woman in Afghanistan

For his sharply measured yet intricately beguiling portrayal of the inner life and outer transformations of a young boy coming out painstakingly from of its own constricting chrysalis into the light and embrace of self-acceptance as a woman.

For her stoic but powerful, silent and blistering portrayal of “mother courage” in facing countless brutal degradation, and humiliation in carrying the double burden of being the centre and periphery of boundless, selfless parental love.

For cinematically depicting the milieu, scope and period of historical significance, making each frame vital not just in pushing the narrative, but highlighting the culture, identity and aspirations of a collective mass of people.

For creating an immersive and riveting experience, by combining the push and flow of slow takes, and precise cuts, weaving a tragic tale of inevitability unto its bleakest end.

For creating a tumultuous aural tapestry of the native spoken languages of a country and its people, in their everyday struggle and escalating conviction against a power-hungry and repressive foreign regime.

For musically rendering the arrestingly soft, intoxicating and painstaking beauty of a unique kind of love between a musician and a young paramour, against the harsh realities of social judgement and prejudice.

11. Special Jury Award – (PERFORMANCE) – MS. SWASTIMA KHADKA for the film BULBUL – NEPAL
For fully committing and brilliantly bringing out the pain and agony, and still imbibing indefatigable courage, balancing mental, emotional and physical turmoil authentically, in a performance both fully transformed and transformative.

For mightily depicting a moving story of childhood innocence and single-minded purpose, and for its definitive direction and self-assured telling of its simple but joyful story.
13. SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION (Certificate only):
For courageously depicting the struggles of a young woman in reconciling personal relationships with gender politics and cultural bias, by giving light into her inner life and emotional nakedness.

14. SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION (Certificate only):
TATTINI (Moon is Bright Tonight) –  NEPAL
For its picturesque and encompassing view of societal tradition and norm, in a story of a woman’s continued fight for marital ownership, acceptance and respect.


2nd July 3rd July 4th July 5th July 6th July 7th July

10.00 am


11.30 am

Master Film/ 164 Mins/ India

2.45 pm

Feature/ 127 Mins/ Nepal

5.15 pm

A Quarter Mile Country
Short/ 30 Mins/ Bangladesh

6.15 pm

Motorcycle Girl
Feature Film/114 Mins/ Pakistan

9.00 am

Fhagun Haoya
Feature/ 101 Mins/ Bangladesh


11.00 am

Short Film/ 20 Mins/ Maldives


11.45 am

Load Wedding
Feature/ 136 Mins/ Pakistan


2.15 pm

A letter to the President
Feature/ 83 Mins/ Afghanistan


4.00 pm

The Remains
Short Film/ 16 Mins/ Nepal


4.20 pm

Na Bole wo Haram
Short Film/ 20 Mins/ India


5.00 pm

Komola Rocket
Feature/ 95 Mins/ Bangladesh


7.00 pm

Walking with the wind
Feature/ 79 Mins/ India

9.00 am

See You
Short Film/ 23 Mins/ Bangladesh


9.30 am

Feature/ 138 Mins/ Nepal


12.00 pm

Short/ 11 Mins/ Sri Lanka


12.30 pm

The Wind of Karma
Feature/ 67 Mins/ Bhutan


2.00 pm

Feature/ 90 Mins/ Maldives


4.00 pm

Feature/ 120 Mins/ India


6.30 pm

Afghanistan Night Stories
Feature/ 120 Mins/ Afghanistan

10.00 – 12.00 pm


“Why do we need funding for independent cinema?”

@ Colombo Film and Television Academy
No 65/5, Ward Place, Colombo 7.


12.30 pm

Master Film/ 87 Mins/ Bangladesh


2.15 pm

The Image
Short Film/ 8 Mins/ Sri Lanka


2.45 pm

The Vested Astrologer
Feature/ 135 Mins/ Bhutan


5.15 pm

Short Film/ 8 Mins/ Bhutan


5.30 pm

Burning Birds
Feature/ 84 Mins/ Sri Lanka

10.00 am

The Wind Beneath us
Feature/ 84 Mins/ Sri Lanka


12.00 pm

The Moon Is Bright Tonight
Short Film/ 15 Mins/ Nepal


12.30 pm

Short Film/ 20 Mins/ India


1.00 pm

Single Mother
Short/ 20 Mins/ Afghanistan


1.30 pm

Chalay Thay Saath*
Master/ 120 Mins/ Pakistan


4.00 pm

Women of Pure Heart
Short Film/ 24 Mins/ Bhutan


4.45 pm

Short Film/ 25 Mins/ Afghanistan


5.30 pm

Palama Yata*
Master Film/ 132 Mins/ Sri Lanka

10.00 am

Master Film/ 106 Mins/ Nepal


12.00 pm

Light Breeze*
Master Film/ 50 Mins/ Afghanistan


6.30 pm

SAARC Film Award Ceremony


7.00 pm

Screening of the Award
Winning Best Feature Film of the SAARC Film Festival 2019

* Non-competitive entries

– Some of the films screened may contain adult content, parental guidance advised

– Films and Timings subject to change without prior notice

Entrance Free

– No bags will be allowed inside the Film Hall and adjacent premises at any time during the entire duration of the SAARC Film Festival 2019

– All persons will be subject to security checks prior to entering the premises and will be required to carry identification