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Monday, February 26, 2024

Liza Diño makes history as first Filipina to receive prestigious French Knight Award in cinema

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Liza Diño is the first-ever Filipina to earn the French Knight Award with her great contribution in the Philippine cinema

Award-winning Actress Liza Diño and former Chairperson and CEO of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) was honored with one of France’s most distinguished titles, the Chevalier in the French Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres). 

The award recognizes Diño’s exceptional contributions to the film industry and her unwavering dedication to fostering cultural exchanges between the Philippines, France, and the world.

The exclusive and intimate awarding ceremony hosted by French Ambassador Michele Boccoz in her honor took place on June 23 at the Ambassador’s Residence in Makati City, Philippines. 

Attended by esteemed colleagues in government and film and Diño’s closest friends and family members, the event marked a momentous occasion in her remarkable career. Ambassador Boccoz, during her speech, praised Diño for her hard work in opening doors for  Filipino filmmakers and films and bridging the Philippines and France for cultural exchange, mutual policies, and promotions. 

“Liza, you are an actress by profession, but being appointed Chairperson of the Film Development Council of the Philippines seemed like you had a calling in public service to play a role in building government support for the Philippine film industry,” she said in her speech. 

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“Your energy, talent, and intensive work have been recognized by French professionals and by all French institutions, and this is why we are here tonight,” the Ambassador added before she officially conferred the medal to Diño.

Those who witnessed the awarding ceremony included award-winning directors Brillante Mendoza, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, Bibeth Orteza, and Mark Meily, actresses Angel Aquino, Bela Padilla, RR Herrera, and Raquel Villavicencio, filmmakers and producers Bianca Balbuena, Bradley Liew, Real Florido, RJ Agustin, and Jim Baltazar of CMB films, Ambassadors Luc Veron of the European Union, and Laure Beaufils of United Kingdom, Instituto Cervantes Director Javier Galvan, and government leaders QC Mayor Joy Belmonte with Manet Dayrit and Ed Lejano of QCinema, QC Congressman Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde, Pangasinan Congressman Toff De Venecia, PAO Chief Persida Acosta, IPOPHL Director General Rowel Barba, and Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Garcia.

The National Order of Arts and Letters is considered the highest civilian award given by the French Republic for individuals who have distinguished themselves by their creations in the artistic or literary field or by the contribution they have made to the influence of the arts and letters in France and the world. Among those awarded the title in the past are Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Leonardo Di Caprio, Meryl Streep, and Cate Blanchett. 

As the first and only Filipina to receive the distinction in the field of cinema (and joining Oscar-winning Actress Michelle Yeoh in Southeast Asia), Diño’s achievements have elevated and uplifted the Philippine film industry in the last six years in the FDCP, most especially in the empowerment and promotion of Philippine Cinema around the world. Her journey, rooted in her background as a classically trained actress, reflects her profound love for the film industry and her commitment to advancing its growth and impact.

During her tenure as Chairperson and CEO of the FDCP, Diño played a pivotal role in fostering film cooperation between the Philippines and France. Under her leadership, Diño achieved numerous milestones through her collaboration with the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC), France’s National Agency for Cinema and audiovisual works. This collaboration resulted in a series of impactful initiatives, from strengthening the participation of Filipino films and filmmakers on the global stage to bringing French experts to the Philippines for policy discussions. 

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