TV Times

Seven wonders of Serendib

Maiden documentary series on Sri Lanka’s World Heritage Sites on DVD
By Susitha R. Fernando

At a time a when both private and public sector working on boosting the country’s tourism a filmmaker for the first time has made a much needed comprehensive documentary film series on seven World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka.

This important endeavour was initiated by award winning film and teleplay producer Ranjith K. Perera and was directed by award winning director Christy Shelton Fernando.

Marking the success of its first step, four DVDs on ‘Ancient City of Sigiriya’, Polonnaruwa, ‘Golden Temple of Dambulla’ and ‘Old Town of Galle’ had been completed and will be officially launched by handing them over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the opening of the Sigiriya Museum at Sigiriya on July 26.

Ranjith Perera Shelton Fernando

The team is working on completion of rest of the three world renowned sites on ‘Sacred City of Anuradhapura’, ‘Sacred City of Kandy’ and ‘Sinharaja Forest Reserve’.

The documentaries are unique as they contain 100% accurate details on the nature of the world heritage sites, their history, the reason that led to naming such places as world heritage sites and all other vital information compiled and scripted by a reputed team of best researchers and experts on each site.

The group includes Dr. Senarath Dissanayake, Director General of the Archaeology Department, Prof. A. Lagamuwa, Professor of History and Archaeological Studies, Rajarata University, Prof. K. D. Paranavitana. Professor of Humanities - Rajarata University, Dr. Piyatissa Senanayake, lecturer of Archaeological Studies Unit - University of Peradeniya, Kusumsiri Kodituwakku, Chief Experimental Officer of Sigiriya Project, Central Cultural Fund and Gamini Kumara Vithana, former head of the Mammal and Bird units of National Museum.

The seven different films each with a duration between 45 to 60 minutes with complete and comprehensive information on each site is dubbed in Sinhala and English for telecasting in Sri Lankan television and international television channels and they will also soon be available in the latest DVD format with subtitles in French, German, Italian, Japanese etc.

The documentaries were also approved and assisted by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Archaeological Department and Central Cultural Fund. “Our main aim was to fulfil the urgent need for the promotion of world renowned sites in this little island country. Just because the war ended would not attract the tourists but we must enlighten them on what they can see here,” Ranjith K. Perera, the man behind the project said.

“Unfortunately the Cultural Ministry, Tourist Board or any other educational institute so far did not have complete visually rich documentaries on these world renowned sites. And of course I could now understand why nobody dared to initiate it. The project was so complex and difficult,” Ranjith said detailing the various difficulties he underwent in making the series.

The cinematically rich documentaries with detailed script voiced by Arun Dias Bandaranayake are added with fitting background music directed by talented musicians. “We have already initiated a project to show the documentaries in schools and universities to educate the younger generation,” he added.

The documentaries will be shown at worldwide exhibitions, film festivals, international television channels and they would be available at tourist information centres, hotels, leading video parlours and bookshops around the country.

And credit should go to the director Christy and his dedicated team who did an excellent job in completing it without being second to all the world’s documentary series and his dedicated team.
More details on the documentaries and are their team is available on

Lankan Heritage Sites go to Italy

The four documentaries directed by Christy Shelton and produced by Ranjith K. Perera have been selected to be screened at the 20th International Festival of Archaeological Films.

Series titled ‘Fort City Alive- Galle’, ‘Golden Rock Temple- Dambulla’, ‘Mediaeval Capital City- Polonnaruwa’ and ‘Abode of the God King-Sigiriya’ will be shown at the special retrospective section titled ‘The Last but not Least’ held from October 5 to 10 at the Civic Museum of Rovereto, Italy.
The films selected from worldwide and screened here would be listed and included in the Civic Museum data-base and are promoted through the magazine ‘Archeologia Viva, promotes and values the documentary through a variety of valuable, scientific and educational events.

Well-known director Christy Shelton had done a number of documentaries and his “Vanniyalaththo” (The aborigines of Sri Lanka) the documentary film was chosen as the official Sri Lankan entry at the 1994 Bombay International Short Film Festival.

The producer Ranjith K. Perera entered to the film industry 15 years ago and produced feature films, Teledrama series and short films some of which were award winners at the local film and teledrama festivals.

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