CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Kapampangan independent film director Brillante Mendoza was inducted into the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, the first Kapampangan to receive such honor from the French government.

Brillante was given the honor by French Ambassador Gilles Garachon at his residence in Makati City on Friday.

The City of San Fernando-born Mendoza received one of the highest distinctions conferred on individuals by the French government, because of his "personification of the rebirth of Philippine cinema" and to "recognize his talent and body of works that has found a dedicated audience in France."

Established in 1957 by the French Ministry of Culture, the order gives recognition to individuals who have had "significant contribution to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance."

Mendoza has directed nine films since 2005.

He won the award for Best Director for his film "Kinatay" at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. His latest film "Lola" won the best film award at the 6th Dubai International Film Festival.

Mendoza is the first Filipino to win “The Golden Leopard” in the 58th Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland in 2005 for his film, “Masahista,” which was filmed in this city.

Mendoza is also the director of the film “Captive.” The film tells of the story of holiday makers and missionaries kidnapped in the Philippines by an Al Qaeda-linked rebel group. The news turned into film with that significant flair and signature Brillante Mendoza style.

The film stars French actress Isabelle Huppert and a host of talented and award-winning Filipino cast that include Sid Lucero, Angel Aquino, Maria Isabel Lopez, Joel Torre, Mercedez Cabral, Mon Confiado, Ronnie Lazaro, and Raymond Bagatsing.

Through his films, he tries to utilize his artistry in promoting Kapampangan culture internationally. He recently produced the full-length Kapampangan independent film “Dukit” that carted awards in the recent Metro Manila Film Festival.

Mendoza finished his primary education in San Isidro Elementary School and his secondary education at the University of the Assumption High School.