The 24th French Film Festival at Ayala Mall Capitol Central, Bacolod City

July 19, 2019

On July 10, 2019, The Embassy of France in the Philippines and Micronesia brought to Bacolod City 11 French films to be viewed free-of-charge for three days (July 10-12) at the Ayala Cinema of Ayala Mall Capitol Central.  Dubbed the French Film Festival, it was the first time that the event  was organized in the city.  Also shown in Makati and Cebu, the French Film Festival highlights these highly-recommended films for these showcase not only French culture and French life, but also humanity. 

The Embassy was represented by Attache Audiovisuel Monsieur Martin Macalintal who was warmly welcomed into Negros by L’Association des Amities Franco-Philippine led by its president Maggy Echauz.  M. Macalintal also met Msgr. Guillermo Ma. Gaston a.k.a. Fr. GG who is a descendant of Negros’ most famous French resident Yves Leopold Germain Gaston.  Msgr. Gaston entertained M. Macalintal at the former’s 1932 residence at Hda. Sta. Rosalia in Manapla.  Our guest was able to meet French culture and French language enthusiasts at opening night including local city officials, and professors from various universities in Negros Occidental.  Also at the event were true-blue French citizens Dominique Lemay and Sara Vial who are the president/founder,  and director, respectively, of French NGO Virlanie Foundation. 

The high-quality films shown were as follows:  Barbara, Jusqu’a la Garde, Victoria, Dans la Brume, La Villa, Mes Provinciales, Bande de Filles, Le Grand Mechant Renard, Le Grand Bain, Madame Hyde, and La Promesse de l’Aube.  These were all received very well by the audience and there was always something for everyone from children to adults; the films drew a gamut of emotions because these were a mixture of thought-provoking, nostalgic, hilarious, exciting, and heart-tugging future cinematic classics. 

Marlin Villasor, a French Club member, chats with an old friend Dominique Lemay, the president and founder of Virlanie Foundation.
A mixture of guests and club members with Attache Audiovisuel Martin Macalintal (kneeling, rightmost).
Joey Gaston, Elsie Gonzaga, Ina Gaston and the Gaston’s New Yorker friend Kate
Lilia Villanueva and her husband Craig Scharlin attend the opening with their son Ben. Past Club President Champa Gidwani joins the family.

It may come as a surprise to a lot of people that Bacolod City has a French Club.  Established over 30 years ago, L’Association des Amities Franco-Philippine or the French Club of Bacolod has been a willing host over the years to many French-speaking guests in the province who are pleasantly shocked to discover that there is a club such as this in this corner of the world.  When I was the club president, the Association welcomed then French Ambassador His Excellency Thierry Mathou at a dinner and he confirmed to me that ours is the only existing French Club in the country.

It is with pride that the club co-sponsored the 24th French Film Festival and M. Martin Macalintal hopes that the succeeding French Film Festivals will continue to attract more appreciative audiences in Bacolod City.   

The French Film Festival was brought to Bacolod City by Institut Francais, Unifrance, the Embassy of France to the Philippines and Micronesia, Alliance Francaise, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Ayala Center, Ayala Malls, Abreeza, Capitol Central, Lacoste, FSquared Technology, Inc., and SSIGroup, Inc.