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‘1st Sem’ wins in Seoul

/ 12:06 AM June 06, 2017
Dexter Hemedez (left) and Allan Michael Ibañez (right) with Korean child actors from the popular show “Tok! Tok! Boni, Hani”

Dexter Hemedez (left) and Allan Michael Ibañez (right) with Korean child actors from the popular show “Tok! Tok! Boni, Hani”

Dexter Hemedez and Allan Michael Ibañez’s “1st Sem” has scored yet another trophy abroad. The CineFilipino movie was the recipient of the Culture Exchange Award at the 5th Seoul Guro International Kids Film Festival held in South Korea on May 30.

The fest aims to “showcase the best of contemporary and classic films for children, youth and families.”

Says Ibañez: “To be part of this festival is already a great honor for us; winning is a big bonus.”


“It was a memorable and wonderful trip,” agrees Hemedez, who attended the fest with his codirector.

Walking on the red carpet during the awards ceremony felt like “a dream,” Hemedez quips. “Some of the kids gave us a high-five. It was the most enjoyable part of the evening.”

Jurors came from South Korea, Australia, United Arab Emirates, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Ukraine and the United States.

Ibañez recalls that “1st Sem” had two screenings at the CGV Cinemas in Seoul.

Hemedez admits that he felt proud “seeing the ‘1st Sem’ poster displayed alongside those of Korean movies in the theaters.”

Ibañez relates: “Lots of teenagers, parents and kids joined us. South Korean parents approached us to tell us how much they loved the film. A high school student, who dreams of becoming a filmmaker, said he liked our film, which was the first Filipino movie he has ever seen.”

“The teener interviewed Allan for almost an hour,” Hemedez looks back. “Juno Park, a young Korean short filmmaker, described our movie as humorous, heartwarming and inspiring.”

Some Korea-based Filipinos caught the movie, as well. “We were comforted by their comment that our film had brought them back home,” Ibañez recounts.


According to the fest’s website, entries were chosen “on the basis of quality and originality” [telling stories that] assist in developing the role cinema plays in the education and enrichment of young people.”

“1st Sem” previously won in India, Canada and the United States and was graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board. It will have its Los Angeles premiere on Sept. 14 at The Art Theater in Long Beach, California.

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TAGS: 5th Seoul Guro International Kids Film Festival, Allan Michael Ibañez, Dexter Hemedez
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