The winning streak of Dexter Hemedez and Allan Michael Ibañez’s “1st Sem” continues. The CineFilipino movie won Honorable Mention for best feature film at the 12th Buffalo Niagara Film Festival held in New York recently.
“From West to East Coast, our film is winning awards,” Hemedez related.
Highlight of the fest for the young filmmakers was meeting Cheryl Boone Isaacs, 35th president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Ampas), the organization that hands out the Oscar awards. (Cinematographer John Bailey succeeded Isaacs as Ampas head recently.)
“She is only the third woman (after Bette Davis and Fay Kanin) and the first African-American to head the Academy,” Hemedez pointed out. “She advised us to continue dreaming and making films.”
“She was very approachable and humble,” Ibañez noted. “She called us, ‘the guys from Manila.’”
They expressed their gratitude to the fest’s organizers, led by founder Bill Cowell, for the honor. “For 10 days, they allotted six cinemas to screen all the entries,” Hemedez recounted. —BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR.