Philippines actress and former government official Liza Diño, who previously headed the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), has been awarded the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of France’s highest honours for the cultural sector.
Diño is the first Filipina to receive the distinction in the field of cinema, joining Oscar-winning Malaysia-born actress Michelle Yeoh, who was conferred the honour in 2016.
During her tenure as chairperson and CEO of the FDCP, Diño promoted the Philippines film industry internationally, launched the country’s first film incentives and helped forge a cooperation agreement between the FDCP and France’s CNC. She also brought French experts to the Philippines for policy discussions and worked with the French Embassy on the annual French Film Festival in the Philippines.
She received the honour at a ceremony hosted by French Ambassador to the Philippines Michele Boccoz at the Ambassador’s Residence in Makati City, Philippines.
“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,” said Boccoz in her speech. “Your energy, talent, and intensive work have been recognised by French professionals and by all French institutions, and this is why we are here tonight.”
Also attending the ceremony were local filmmakers such as Brillante Mendoza, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna and Bibeth Orteza; EU Ambassador Luc Veron and UK Ambassador Laure Beaufils; local producers including Bianca Balbuena, Bradley Liew and Real Florido and QCinema film festival’s Ed Lejano, along with other local dignitaries, friends and family.
FDCP also brought Annecy film festival’s Animation du Monde to the Philippines in 2019 and partnered with French-based company Tatino Films to establish Full Circle Lab, which has helped build the Philippines as a creative hub in the Southeast Asian region. It was also during Diño’s tenure that FDCP started acquiring distribution rights for award-winning French films such as Portrait Of A Lady On Fire and Petit Maman.
The FilmPhilippines incentives scheme has supported international co-productions between France and the Philippines, including Lav Diaz’s When The Waves Are Gone, Thomas Digard’s Bionic Max, Avid Liongoren’s Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah vs. The Amazonistas, Carlo Manatad’s Whether The Weather Is Fine, and Simon Jaquemet’s Electric Child.
Since leaving FDCP, Diño has launched a production company, Fire and Ice Media and Productions, with her husband, renowned singer and musician Ice Seguerra. She was also recently appointed executive director of the Quezon City Film Development Commission.