An ambitious documentary, chronicling the cultural life and religious customs of the Sinhalese and the effects of advanced industrialism on such customs, Song of Ceylon is one of the most critically acclaimed products of the documentary film movement. It was hailed at the time of its release by author and film critic Graham Greene as a cinematic masterpiece, and received the award for best film at the International Film Festival in Brussels, 1935.Known for its sophisticated approach and its experimentation the film features crucial input from Alberto Cavalcanti, who helped with the soundtrack, as well as composer Walter Leigh, who experimented in the studio to create a number of sound effects.
Basil Wright, born in 1907, was the first recruit to join John Grierson at the Empire Marketing Board’s film unit in 1930, shortly after he graduated from University of Cambridge. He made a number of films there both as a director and as a producer before leaving the GPO to form his own production company, The Realist Film Unit (RFU). There he directed CHILDREN AT SCHOOL with money from the Gas Industry and The Face of Scotland for The Films of Scotland Committee.