Film: iAcademy launched the Ground Glass Film Festival to celebrate students’ talent and creativity

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The 2nd Edition of the GROUND GLASS FILM FESTIVAL was launched September 21st, 2021 as part of the school’s annual SODA WEEK, iACADEMY’s School of Design and The Arts weeklong celebration of talks, screenings, and events. Inspired by the excellent continued output of the students during the ongoing pandemic, the GROUND GLASS FILM FESTIVAL celebrates their creativity and gives them a festival experience even in the confines of their homes.

“It’s inspiring to see how clever and resourceful these young filmmakers have been despite the safety limitations in filming,” says Festival Director Keith Sicat. “As a practitioner, it puts wind in your sails to witness the next generation of filmmakers show their grit and determination in continuing to create.” The name of the festival is based on the element in a camera called the ‘ground glass’ that aids in focus. “The name is meant to provide historical context for the young filmmakers,” he explains. “The students are a part of this artistic continuum of capturing images.”

The jury for the first edition was comprised of esteemed award-winning filmmakers. This year’s jury is no different. What makes this set of jurors exciting is that two are women and both are quite young. “The age gap between students and these award-winning filmmakers isn’t so vast,” says Sicat. “That should inspire the kids even more – their dreams are closer than they imagine!”


This year’s jury is made up of acclaimed directors Rae Red, Ice Idanan, and Dodo Dayao. “What’s great is that they each are coming at film from a different route,” Sicat explains. Red began as a screenwriter (she co-wrote Birdshot which was the Philippines’ official entry to the Academy Awards in 2018) and whose first solo outing as writer/director “Babae at Baril” swept the awards season last year. Idanan got her start as a cinematographer before winning numerous accolades with “Sakaling Hindi Makarating” starring Alessandra de Rossi. Dayao’s early forays were in the form of film criticism before making his moody genre pieces such as the award-winning “Violator” and recent Martial Law allegory “Midnight in a Perfect World” that stars Jasmine Curtis-Smith and Glaiza de Castro.

Sicat expounds, “having these jurors come at the practice of filmmaking from these unique starting points can show the spectrum of possibilities to the students as they prepare to navigate these cinematic waters.”

iACADEMY, the host institution, has been supportive of the festival, culminating in the awards ceremony that was immediately after the Masterclass Workshop with the jurors on Saturday, September 25th.

With the help of iACADEMY’s Nexus Gallery, Dean of the School of Design and the Arts Jon Cuyson, and fellow filmmaker and educator Hector Calma (who is also behind the independent cinema venue Cinema Centenario and the online streaming platform MOOV), the GROUND GLASS FILM FESTIVAL is a testament to the strength of spirit of the next generation of young filmmakers.

Check out more about the Ground Glass Film Festival here and iACADEMY’s Facebook and Website.

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