LOS ANGELES – Stars and filmmakers, including Romnick Sarmenta, Enchong Dee, Kaladkaren and Eisel Serrano, were in Los Angeles for the launch of the inaugural Manila International Film Festival (MIFF) at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) last Thursday, November 2.

In a press conference at the Andaz West Hollywood Hotel, MIFF announced that actress Hilda Koronel will be the first recipient of the Monty Manibog Lifetime Achievement Award. Named after the late Manibog, the first Filipino American to become an elected official in Southern California and the first FilAm mayor in the continental United States, a humanitarian, lawyer and an Olympian, the award honors Koronel, one of the Philippines’ finest actresses.


The stars from Manila joined filmmakers Jun Robles Lana, Perci Intalan and JP Habac Jr., Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) overall chairman, Atty. Romando Artes, and Executive Director, Atty. Rochelle Ona, MIFF President Ebradu Udarbe, Chairman Omen Ortiz and Executive Producer Lisa Lew, in the press conference attended by members of the FilAm media.


MIFF, the first overseas edition of the MMFF, will be launched at the DGA with a screening of three films chosen from the eight entries in the inaugural summer edition of MMFF (Metro Manila Summer Film Festival – MMSFF) held last April in the Philippines.


These three films and their screening times on Nov. 2 are Chris Martinez’s “Here Comes the Groom,” starring Enchong Dee, Kaladkaren, Miles Ocampo and Gladys Reyes, MMSFF special jury prize winner, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm; JP Habac Jr.’s “Love You Long Time,” starring Carlo Aquino, Eisel Serrano and Ana Abad Santos, 2:00 – 4:00 pm; Jun Robles Lana’s “About Us But Not About Us,” starring Romnick Sarmenta and Elijah Canlas, which won several MMSFF awards, including best picture, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, including a Q & A, moderated by journalist Ruben V. Nepales, with star Romnick Sarmenta and filmmakers Jun Robles Lana and Perci Intalan.


The LA launch also featured a VIP reception and a meet and greet with the stars and filmmakers behind these three films, 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm.


The MIFF founders are Omen Ortiz, chairman; Ebradu Udarbe, president; Lisa Lew, executive producer; Ruben Nepales and Janet Nepales, media relations consultants; and Celia Abaya Dy, ticketing manager. Also on the MIFF team are Leo Dela Cruz, chief financial officer; Erickson Ilog, chief operations officer; Ron Ramores, chief marketing officer; Cindy Sison, consultant; and Meriden Angeles, coordinator.


For MIFF launch and festival sponsorship inquiries, contact Erickson Ilog (eilog@manilainternationalfilmfest.com) and Ron Ramores (rramores@manilainternationalfilmfest.com).


Ten entries in the 49th Metro Manila Film Festival this December will be screened in Los Angeles on January 30 and 31 and February 1 and 2, 2024. With the lineup of star-studded MMFF entries, MIFF in LA promises to be an exciting one as well.