The cast of Maariya – The Angel of the Ocean recently won the award for Best Leading Actor of a Feature-Length Film at the sixth Hanoi International Film Festival.
The cast members recognised for their performance are Mahendra Perera, Priyantha Sirikumara, Hemal Ranasinghe, Darshan Dharmaraj, Ashan Dias, Suran Dasanayaka, and Dasun Pathirana.
Maariya is a 2022 movie that follows Willie, Bennet, Anthony, Osca, Daiya, and Tenny – a group of fishermen engaged in their vocation in the seas. They suddenly discover Malan, who had stealthily hidden in their fishing trawler with the sole intention of illegally migrating to Australia by boat.
Maariya is directed and written by Aruna Jayawardana, who boasts 20 years of experience as a television producer and programmes manager, serving in two leading television channels in Sri Lanka. In 2011, he directed his maiden feature film Nikini Wessa, which earned him many local and international accolades.
Star Hemal Ranasinghe shared a post on Facebook, thanking the film festival for the incredible recognition. “To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time in history an entire cast [has been] awarded the best actor award. Indeed, it reflects the magnificent talents on both sides of the camera that contributed to the success. This is really a proud moment for all of us and this is a gift of encouragement for us to do more.”
He went on to thank the director as well as the producer of the movie, Indrajith Silva, while also paying tribute to Dharmaraj, who passed away last month. “Darshan, when I look at this token of appreciation, it always reminds me of you and your dreams. I know you are with us,” the actor said.
“In my eyes, this world would be unliveable without cinema. Finally, on behalf of [the] Maariya crew, we would like to dedicate this award to our people in Sri Lanka who battle [for] survival. If this brings joy and happiness to you that is the ultimate purpose of art,” he added.
About the festival
The Hanoi International Film Festival (HANIFF) was held from 8 to 12 November in the capital of Vietnam. It is organised in collaboration with the Ha Noi People’s Committee and relevant ministries and agencies. The film festival was put on hold for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but this year came back stronger than ever, screening 123 films from 56 countries and territories. This includes Anomaa Rajakruna’s short films Forward Drive and The Outcast, where the former was among the finalists in the international short film competition.
In the greetings message at the sixth Hanoi International Film Festival, Ha Noi People’s Committee Chairman Tran Sy Thanh said: “After five successive festivals, Hanoi International Film Festival has gradually identified itself as a prestigious brand and become the biggest international film festival in Vietnam. It is not only a platform for talented filmmakers and artists to gather and prizes to be awarded, but also a chance to spread professional enthusiasm, seek co-operation opportunities, expand the Vietnamese cinema market, and contribute to promoting images of Vietnam and Hanoi as a safe and friendly city.”
Thanh welcomed film artists, directors, actors, and actresses from 56 countries and territories worldwide. “With the slogan ‘Cinema for Humanities, Adaptability, and Development’, I do believe that the sixth Hanoi International Film Festival 2022 will continue to promote the spirit of humanity and co-operation among professional filmmakers and honour excellent cinema works of high artistic value, creativity, full of humanity, and at the same time, encourage new talents of the world’s cinema. The festival will also be an opportunity for Vietnamese cinema to expand and integrate with the regional and global markets.”