Professor Wimal Dissanayake is a leading scholar of Asian cinema. He has published a large number of books on the subject including, 'Melodrama and Asian Cinema (Cambridge University Press), New Chinese Cinema (Oxford University Press), Colonialism and Nationalism in Asian Cinema (Indiana University Press), Indian Popular Cinema (Trentham Publishers). Prof. Dissanayake has also published widely in areas of communication and cultural Studies, including such books as 'Global/Local' (Duke University Press) and 'Narratives of Agency' (Minnesota University Press), Transcultural Pacific (University of Illinois Press. He was the Founding Editor of the East-West Film Journal, and has served as editorial advisor to such prestigious publications as International Encyclopedia of Communication, Journal of Communication, Communication Theory, 'Framework', 'Deep Focus', 'World Englishes', 'Journal of South Asian Popular Culture.' He is regarded as a pioneer in the field of Asian communication theory. He is the General Editor of a book series on Hong Kong cinema for the Hong Kong University Press.
Professor Dissanayake had his early education in Sri Lanka. He obtained his doctorate from Cambridge University, England and did his post-graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been the recipient of Fulbright and Rockefeller Fellowships and was invited to be the Wei Lun Distinguished Professor at the Chinese University, in Hong Kong. He has been invited as the keynote speaker at numerous academic conferences in the United States, Europe and Asia. He was for many years the Senior Fellow at the East-West Center, Hawaii and the Head of its Film Program. He was also the professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Hong Kong. Wimal Dissanayake has been associated with the Hawaii International Film Festival from the inception until 1995, and was in charge of the Film Symposium. He is currently an Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong and is on the Affiliate Faculty of the Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii. He has served as an advisor to UNESCO.
Professor Dissanayake is a bilingual poet; he publishes poetry in his mother tongue, Sinhalese and in English. This year he was awarded the Publishers Prize for the outstanding book of poetry in Sri Lanka. He has published English poetry in such journals as Hawaii Review', 'Kaimaana', 'Bamboo Ridge', 'Cambridge Review' and 'Pawn.' He has been living in Hawaii for the past twenty five years.