The International Academy of Film and Television (IAFT) in Cebu is actively recruiting students interested in filmmaking. Here's the extended version of my interview with Elgin Zulueta, IAFT's account executive in Los Angeles.
Yong Chavez: How is the school able to help the local economy in the Philippines?
Elgin Zulueta: There is a 50/50 ratio of Filipino and expats working at Bigfoot Corporation which is the parent company of IAFT. Our head in the Business Development for all companies is Caesar Ditan who is Filipino, an industry professional who has a masters in management program from UP Cebu. Also, we are able to reach out to the community by establishing the Bigfoot Asia Pacific Foundation which provides and supports social and educational opportunities including computer education to underprivileged public school children. The first project was build the Cotcotan Youth Center in Cebu.
What's the goal of IAFT this year?
We want to let aspiring filmmakers and actors know that there is another avenue for them to fulfill their dreams at top quality, hands-on education. I think that this is a great opportunity for Filipino-Americans to come back home and study. You not only train with the best mentors from all over the globe, you also get to experience your own roots and help build the Philippines as a destination for filmmaking.
You mentioned mas konting Pinoy students than other nationalities?
There is a 50/50 ratio when it comes to students. Most Filipino-Americans are also not aware that there is a great film school back home. Since the school also puts a "hands on" policy, the ratio of student - teacher is only 1-10. 1 teacher per 10 students. Students will get a chance to get real time review and mentorship from the teachers.
What is the Paul Ben-Victor event?
We do workshops in our LA office in Venice Beach. On July 17 we are having the acclaimed actor Paul Ben-Victor to teach the "Character / Chameleon" acting workshop. Paul's valuable workshop will focus on the process, technique, and preparation in acting that has allowed him to work consistently in TV and film for more than 20 years. He is widely recognizable from his current role in USA Network's "In Plain Sight", "The Wire", "Entourage", "John from Cincinatti". It is perfect for Filipino-Americans who wants to pursue an acting career.
Are there more Hollywood people becoming involved with IAFT?
Always. Our teachers / mentors are from Hollywood and have been in the industry working for top production outfits. I even work with a Hollywood actor, Christian Meoli our marketing consultant for the school. He appeared in Hollywood movies and one of his noted movie was the film "Alive" where he played the role of Federico Aranda.
Any success stories among the students?
We have an IAFT Filipino alumni, Steve Flor who won a Platinum Remi Award at the Worldfest Houston Film Festival last April 2010. His 3 minute short film "Breakfast with Lolo" won the judges over it's simplicity and moving story on family values and the inseperable bond between a diabetes stricken grandfather and his grandson.
Does the school give support to its graduates?
We have always supported our students and alumni in whatever way we can. There are possible internship opportunities in any of our company affiliates like Bigfoot Entertainment and FashionOne though not a guarantee. It is also an advantage to network and build relationships with the school mentors and other students from all over the globe.
Any upcoming IAFT events?
We are having our Filmmaking and Acting intakes in Aug and October for the remaining year. So for those interested to live their dreams, please let me know and I can help them. They can call me at 310.593.4734, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org andcheck our website www.filmschool,ph. And as I have mentioned, we are coming up with the master Acting workshop this July 17 with Hollywood American actor Paul Ben-Victor.