Sri Lankan actor Jagath Chamila won the best actor in a leading role award at the New York City International Film Festival last night.
He won teh award for his role in the film ‘Sam’s story’ by Sri Lankan-Canadian producer/director Priyankara Vittanachchi.
In his debut feature, Priyankara Vittanachchi has created in Sam an unforgettable character. Through the eyes of Sam, the viewer becomes painfully aware of the daily political tensions and everyday dangers of life in Sri Lanka, a land ravaged by war and political strife.
In the film, Siriratne (Sam) is the eldest of two children living in a remote village in Sri Lanka. Abandoned by their father, Sam and his younger brother Jaya are raised by their mother. Sam is mentally handicapped, and ably protected by his childhood friend, Piya.
When Piya dies, Sam is taken by his uncle to a neighbouring town to work as a servant house boy, but rushes home when he learns that Jaya was killed by Tamil soldiers.
The next place of work is “River House” where he is kindly accepted by the Master of the family, and the Son, a young man Sam comes to love deeply. He is to work with Leandro, the Tamil cook, and Janet, a servant girl.
When the Master is killed by a bomb, the family leaves Sri Lanka and all three servants are let go. Sam returns to his village, unable to work, and eagerly waits for a letter from the Master’s family.
When his mother dies, he is ridiculed constantly by the villagers and becomes despondent, until one day the Son of his beloved family arrives with his wife and children to take him back to River House.