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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Films by iACADEMY faculty conquers the international screens 

Two stunning films by arts and design professors from Makati-based iACADEMY Jon Cuyson and Mario Serrano premiered in prestigious international film festivals this June bringing new stories to the international scene. 

Among the films that premiered during the Sicilia Queer Film Fest in Cinema de Seta, Italy, is “Kerel (A Sea of Love)”by iACADEMY Dean of the School of Design and the Arts Jon Cuyson. Sicilia Queer Film Fest aims to promote cinematographic culture tackling issues on social discrimination while giving a platform to support young actors, emerging and independent cinematographers, and new forms of expression connected to the experimentation and innovation of traditional and non-traditional languages.

Cuyson’s work centers around Kerel, a gay Filipino seafarer trapped in a cargo ship during the lockdown who escapes through his memory, and recalls his complicated past, present, and future self.

“The hybrid experimental documentary fiction film is an evocation of the complexities of personal and national identity prescribed by one’s memory. The film mixes archival images with texts, filmed and found footage to weave the complex narrative from the perspective of a gay Filipino seafarer stranded at sea, confronted by Chinese ships while recalling his past, present, and future relationship with himself, his lover, his family, and his country”, shares Jon Cuyson. 

The school’s chairperson for Multimedia Arts Mario Serrano also makes waves as “Dikit”, a film which he production-designed and cinema visual-styled, won the Best Picture and Best Director at the International Silent Film Festival Manila. It was named by CNN Philippines as one of the best Filipino films of 2021 and was recently selected and screened at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in Aratani Theater, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Los Angeles USA. 

“Dikit” is about a young woman with a monstrous secret who desperately longs for a different body. When the new couple in town moves in next door, the character sees a chance to finally get one.

“Dikit was born out of a series of creative chats with my firstborn, Gabriela (the film’s writer and director), and her younger sister, Mariana (the film’s co-writer and the main protagonist character), over dinners, and through a number of road and grocery trips. Designing and styling the film is challenging as it required split screens with images running side by side, going in and out of its visual territories, colliding, interacting, and finally ‘gluing’ towards the swell. It begged for careful and strategic planning of production sets to efficiently manage the shooting days, under the shadow of a pandemic. Coming from years of TV commercial work, Dikit was by far the most challenging yet rewarding film ride I’ve ever done. I’m glad that the piece was recognized locally and internationally with a string of awards and a couple of good reviews”, says Mario Serrano.

Currently, Dean Jon Cuyson and Mario Serrano teach specialized programs centered on film, multimedia arts, and design at iACADEMY School of Design and the Arts in Makati City. To inquire about their admissions for Senior High School and College this school year 2022-2023, email admissions@iacademy.edu.ph or visit www.iacademy.edu.ph


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