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‘1st Sem’ goes to Houston

/ 12:04 AM March 14, 2017
Darwin Yu (left) and Lotlot de Leon in “1st Sem”

Darwin Yu (left) and Lotlot de Leon in “1st Sem”

After winning two awards at the All Lights India International Film Festival in Hyderabad last year, Dexter Hemedez and Allan Ibañez’s “1st Sem” will compete at the 50th World Fest-Houston International Film and Video Festival in Texas, from April 21 to 30.

As part of the Houston fest’s official selection, the CineFilipino 2016 film will be shown at the Flagship AMC Studio 30 Theaters.

“It’s super exciting,” lead star Lotlot de Leon told the Inquirer. “I’m happy for my directors. It makes all the challenges they had to go through as first-time filmmakers seem worth it.”


Hemedez recalled that he had to reread the invitation letter a “hundred times” to let it sink in. He admitted that he couldn’t believe their film would have its US premiere in one of the “oldest independent film festivals in the world.”

“In its five-decade history, the festival has discovered many filmmakers who are now big names in the industry,” Hemedez pointed out. “We consider this a huge blessing… a big opportunity.”

Ibañez agreed, saying he was grateful that their film was included in a festival “that dedicates itself to discovering new voices. It’s more than we can ask for. It’s heartening that our film will be shown in a theater in Houston.”

According to Ibañez, he feels honored that their film is part of a fest with a long history of promoting neophyte filmmakers.
“It takes so much dedication and passion to sustain a 50-year tradition. So we are happy, proud and excited to be a part of it.”

Hemedez said: “We hope this fest will open more doors for our film, which tackles two themes—family and education—that are important to a lot of people, no matter where they are from. We hope to share this film with as many students, teenagers, teachers and parents as possible.”

Ibañez remarked: “We are eager to share our film with the Houston community, but we hope that Filipinos in Texas will take time to watch it, as well.”

The comedy-drama film, which tells the story of a single mom coping with her eldest son’s transition to college life, will be shown in local cinemas starting April 26. Hemedez and Ibañez were among the honorees in the Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards last year.

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