THE independent movie that won two top awards in separate international film festivals for veteran actress Lotlot de Leon is going to be premiered this week for Filipino-American audience in Long Beach, California.
The movie “1st Sem,” which is scheduled to be shown on September 14 at 7 pm. at the The Art Theater (2025 E 4th St., Long Beach 90814), won the Special Jury award at the All Lights India International Film Festival (ALIIFF) last year and the Best Supporting Actress award at the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival.
In the movie, Lotlot plays mother to three children played by Darwin Yu, Miguel Bagtas and Sebastian Vargas — all of whom have experienced playing roles in theater.
Directed by Allan Michael Ibañez and Dexter Paglinawan Hemedez for Kayan Productions & Team Campy Entertainment, the movie revolves around the emotional rollercoaster that visited an ordinary rural family when one of Precy’s (Lotlot’s character) children has to come to Manila to pursue college.
Maru (Darwin Yu’s character) was overwhelmed by his separation from his mother and siblings right on his very first night at the dormitory. He returned to their house in the province — to the consternation of his mother.
The situation provoked the drama and humor in the movie.
During a press conference at the Nonie Belarmino’s iDance Studio in Carson City last Thursday, Dexter, one of the writer/director of the movie, said the movie did not attempt to tackle any issue about the Philippine education system but simply focused on the emotional and social aspects of family relationships.
Gary Paglinawan, for his part, described the challenges that independent producers face throughout the pre-production stage and up to its distribution.
“We don’t have the robust marketing and distribution arms of mainstream companies so we really have to work hard to bring our films to the audience,” Paglinawan said, adding that moviegoers still are very “star” oriented.
As it is important for Indie movie producers to recover their investments on a movie so they could embark on new projects, Paglinawan explained, that the foremost motivation for encouraging moviegoers to see these films is to uplift their discernment of what good movies are.
1st Sem has also won the “Cultural Exchange Award” in the 5th Seoul Guro Int’l Film Festival, “Best Feature Film in Debut Directors Category of the All Lights India Int’l Film Festival, “Gold REMI Award” in the 50th Annual Worldfest Houston Int’l Film Festival and the Neil Daza award in the Cinema Worldfest Awards in Canada.
The movie has been selected to vie for awards at the 14th San Diego International Kids Film Festival, the 10th Columbi Gorge Int’l Film Festival, the 12th Buffalo Niagara Int’l Film Festival in New York, USA and the 13th Ellensburg Film Festival in Washington, USA.
1st Sem was previously shown in Houston, Texas