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How This Filipino Festival Director Is Breaking Barriers in France: The Surprising Story Behind IFFM’s International Debut

Filipino Festival Director IFFM's International Debut
Explore the inspiring journey of Filipino Festival Director Luis Pedron, as he brings the International Film Festival Manhattan to France, offering an international platform to discuss mental illness and depression through diverse short films. Luis Pedron photo.

In a first for his esteemed festival, Filipino director Luis Pedron is taking the International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM) to France. The groundbreaking filmmaker-actor and festival director announced on Facebook today that the festival will be hosting an industry screening at the Marche Du Film, one of the world’s largest film markets, on May 24, 2023. The screening will be held at the Palais G at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, 1 Bd de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France.

Pedron said, “This event is the first year we will be doing an industry screening at the biggest Film Market in the World which is Marche Du Film. The short films selected have the recurring theme of Mental Illness and Depression which resonate to all of us as we survive the Pandemic. They are pressing issues that should be discussed. It’s not a joke to be depressed and anxious during this time.”

The decision to focus on films dealing with mental illness and depression came from a deeply personal place. Pedron, who lost his parents recently and suffered a devastating blow with his nephew’s suicide in June 2022, stated, “Creating this program to start the conversation on Mental Illness and Depression was inspired by the impact these issues have had on so many of us over the last three years.”

An interesting mix of films featuring diverse talent from Filipino Americans, Jewish Americans, Norwegians, Portuguese, and German award-winning actors/directors, all set to participate in the Marche Du Film, will be showcased. Pedron’s own film “Waiting Room,” a drama set in the Philippines/USA, will also be screened.

The films scheduled for the screening are:

  • “The Next Door” (Norway), a drama/horror film directed by Sander Lid Fiskå (Norway)
  • “Waiting Room” (Philippines/USA), a drama represented by Luis Pedron (USA/Philippines)
  • “FLOWERS” (USA/Paraguay), a drama represented by Anna Carvalho (USA/Portugal)
  • “GARDEN GNOME” (USA), an experimental film directed and written by Dinarte De Freitas (Portugal/USA), and produced by Eric Newnham (USA/Portugal)
  • “Kidding” (USA), a drama/comedy represented by actress/writer/producer Lia Fietz (Portugal/Germany)
  • “Curbside Pickup” and “Why Don’t You Google Me” (USA), two comedies represented by actress Ana-Maria Bandean (Romania/USA) and producer/writer Richard Drutman (USA)

A notable voice in the film industry, Luis Pedron is a force to reckon with. Named in the 75 Most Influential Filipino Americans list, Pedron’s pioneering work with the International Film Festival Manhattan has helped spotlight Filipino films in the New York City annual industry event.

The annual International Film Festival Manhattan in New York, USA is scheduled for October 12 – 15, 2023. Submissions for film entries are still open via the festival’s website www.IFFMUSA.com.

This year’s first-ever France screening underlines the festival’s commitment to showcasing diverse voices and stories, transcending geographical boundaries in its mission to explore pressing social issues.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS AND WELL WISHES in the comments below to Filipino Festival Director Luis Pedron as he takes IFFM to France!

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Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.

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