SL Film Festival launched in Santa Barbara by Aruni Boteju | Daily News

SL Film Festival launched in Santa Barbara by Aruni Boteju

Founder of the Ceylon International Film Festival Corporation, Aruni Boteju, launched the Sri Lanka Film Festival this week in Santa Barbara, California, with a tea ceremony. Santa Barbara, the city of arts and culture is considered the Riviera of America, the home of the famous Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Present among the large gathering of guests were the Mayor of Santa Barbara Ms Cathy Murillo, Hon. Consul General of Sri Lanka Dr. Lalith Chandradasa, Director of Direct Relief International Dean Axelrod, Direct Relief Emergency Officer Chris Alleway, former Deputy Director General of the United Nations Dr. Nandi Jasentuliyana, President, Sri Lanka America Association Samantha Kurera, Director of Project Management & Publication, Sri Lanka Foundation International, Keshini Wijegoonaratna, Founder of the Sri Lanka Youth Organization, USA Aruni Ganewatta, and Miguel Avilla of the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber.

Sri Lankan-American, Aruni Boteju is Assistant Vice President, Small Business Banking at Bank of the West/ BNP Paribas in Southern California.

Aruni had her early education at Buddhist Ladies International College, Colombo 07. She continued her studies at Santa Barbara City College and earned her Bachelor’s Science in Business at the University of Phoenix.

She started her banking career with Bank of America in 1999 as a part time teller. She stated, “In those days it was hard to get into banking, I had to do an exam to be hired, and I failed the first time. I had to reconsider the credit and debits I learned in school to banking credits and debits”. She moved from Bank of America to Wells Fargo Bank, Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, Heritage Bank to Bank of the West. “I was very blessed to work with many people, who supported me in my career. I learned from my mentors and from my clients.

I believe life is too short for us to learn from our mistakes. We must listen and learn from others as well. I was always willing to take that chance or the risk to make myself a better person and improve myself.”

She is very passionate about dancing and drama as well. She learned traditional Kandyan dancing from school dancing teacher Thilaka Wejayesinghe , Bharthnatyam from Guru Pad mini Dahanayaka, and Kathak at Sausiri Paya in Colombo in the early 90’s. She had the opportunity to go to Shanthi Nikethan in India to further study Kathak. She was lucky to be a member of the legendary Kala Suri Somalatha Subasinghe’s team for stage dramas and also to work with many well-known artistes in Sri Lanka.


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