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Tears and joy at the French Film Fest gala

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Internationally acclaimed French actress and director of Un Silence Si Bruyant (Such a Resounding

Silence) documentary and godmother of the 26th French Film Festival in Manila Emmanuelle Béart

It was a date with an angel.

At the charity gala of the French film festival, held at a ballroom at the Mall of Asia’s Lanson Place, I met Emmanuelle Beart, whom I remember clearly as the winged beauty in the 1987 movie Date with an Angel.

Nick de Ocampo

But Emmanelle’s come so far from the innocent, clueless angel she played in the movie in which she starred opposite Michael Knight, with Phoebe Cates in the cast.

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French Ambassador Marie Fontanel and spouse Alain Fontanel

She was in Manila to introduce Un silence si bruyant (Such a Resounding Silence), a documentary she has co-produced with Anastasia Mikova on the delicate subject of incest, of which she confessed to have herself been a victim.

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Angel Guerreo, Martin Macalintal, and the author

Incidentally, this year’s French film festival opened on Saturday, Nov. 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, although even boys, as Emmanuelle’s documentary presented, are not spared from the worst of all violence, the rape or molestation of a helpless child by a family member.

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Steven Tan, Manila Bulletin President, Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Makati Mayor Abby Binay, and Pepper Teehankee

Emmanuelle’s visit, heavily supported by the French Embassy and SM Supermalls, got her in touch with French national Laurence Ligier, who has since decades ago moved here, settling in Iloilo, and founded Cameleon Philippines to help abused girls get back on their feet or start life anew, away from the perpetrators of these despicable acts, mostly their parents or close relatives.

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Tim Yap, Kai Lim, and Mario Katigbak

The gala was so moving, with Emmanuelle and Laurence, as well as the new French Ambassador to the Philippines Marie Fontanel, loudly calling for us to “break the silence,” to face up to the harsh reality that one of every five children is preyed on by family, someone—father, mother, lolo or lola, kuya or ate, tito or tita—from whom the child is supposed to learn the meaning of trust.

Joanne Rae Ramirez, Fortune Ledesma, and Thelma San Juan

On a bright note, the French embassy also bestowed the Prix d’Excellence Alumni 2023, the French Alumni Award on its second edition, upon four outstanding Filipinos who studied in France—filmmaker and educator Nick Deocampo, Balai Palma chef Aaron Isip, Design Center of the Philippines executive director Rhea Matute, and SM Supermalls president Steven Tan.

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Obee Ham and Sharyn Wong

Having been so awarded, the four are now ambassadors of studying in France. First granted in 2022 as an initiative celebrating the 75th anniversary of Filipino and French diplomatic relations, the French Alumni Award honors exceptional Filipino professionals and their successes brought about in part by French higher education.

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Karen Davila

This year’s awardees are no less inspiring success stories.

The filmmaker, author, and cinema historian Nick de Ocampo, who obtained a certificate of film from the Atelier du Formation Au Cinema Documentaire of the Ateliers Varan in Paris in 1982, was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines of the Year in 1992 and has many feathers in his filmmaker’s cup, including a FAMAS lifetime achievement award and a Lamberto Avellana award from the Film Academy of the Philippines.

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CAMELEON Association Founder Laurence Ligier and the Cirque de CAMELEON troupe

Aaron Isip, a Le Cordon Bleu alumnus, is head chef of Balai Palma, a progressive restaurant he set up in his three-story ancestral home in Poblacion, Makati, on a street after which the restaurant is named. Before he moved to the Philippines, he was in France, where he worked closely with renowned chefs like Alain Senderens and William Ledeuil. His restaurant Dix-Huit (Eighteen) was in the league of the best restaurants in Paris in 2014, according to Le Figaro. Among his decorations are the Chef Espoir award, which he received in 2015, and two toques from the French restaurant guide Gault & Millau. Aaron is in the thick of preparations to open yet another restaurant concept—Casa Palma.

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Grace Magno

Rhea Matute, who has a master’s degree in International Luxury Brand Management at ESSEC in Paris, is at the helm of the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP) under the Department of Trade and Industry. Not only multi-awarded, with the likes of the 2017 Merit Award from the Philippine Quill Awards and the Philippines’ first Wood Pencil from the 2019 D&AD Future Impact Awards, which she received for the DCP’s giant leap toward sustainability, having found the breakthrough it took to convert pineapple byproducts into eco-friendly products via the Pinyapel program, Rhea, according to a press statement, is also “responsible for the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition, as well as putting Baguio and Cebu in the radar of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.”

Aaron Isip

Before beginning his career in hospitality management, Steven Tan was in Paris, pursuing his MBA at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris. His success story at SM Supermalls, of which he is now president, began in 2004 when he handled mall operations at the Podium at Ortigas Center. Two years later, he moved to the SM Mall of Asia, which he opened, and seven years later, to the SM Aura Premier, which brought SM Supermalls, thanks to his leadership, to the league of upscale malls in the Philippines. Steven was named Global Filipino Executive at the 2022 Asian CEO Awards in recognition of his efforts to see SM Supermalls, its stakeholders, and its staff through the pandemic.

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Rita Dy
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Mayenne Carmona
Mitch So
Marissa Chan
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Rhea Matute
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Maica Teves
Ria Prieto

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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