Netflix bankrolls Filipino program ‘Indiegenius’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Netflix bankrolls Filipino program ‘Indiegenius’

/ 12:20 AM February 27, 2023

Filmmaker Keith Sicat

Filmmaker Keith Sicat

Streaming giant Netflix recently announced that it would bankroll a mentorship program in the Philippines this May, as well as finance a portion of two production grants worth P500,000 each “to support local voices with strong regional perspectives” as they create short narratives, animation and documentary projects.

In an article published on, the streaming company said it would support what is called the “Indiegenius” program organized by iAcademy and curated by award-winning filmmaker Keith Sicat. It will take place on weekends from May 20 to June 10.


“The program is designed to give young Filipino filmmakers access to resources and encourage those with regional roots and indigenous backgrounds to ensure creative inclusion and diversity,” the website stated. The program will be subsidized through the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity. “They have been doing a number of programs to help give access to people who may not usually get these opportunities in various countries, and we are honored as this is the first program from the Philippines that they are helping fund, and only the second in Southeast Asia,” Sicat told Inquirer Entertainment.


2 winners

Deadline for the submission of application for the program is on March 20, while the announcement of the 10 finalists will be on May 10. “They will participate in four weekend workshops spread over one month,” according to Netflix. “They will hone their film concepts, then do a live pitch to a jury of industry professionals. Two winning film projects will each receive a production grant.” The films should be completed in November this year.

“Everyone wants to have the chance to work with Netflix,” said Sicat, when asked to share how the partnership with the streaming giant came about. “iAcademy also wished to explore if this is possible, particularly as the school pushes practical application in multimedia arts and film. As I had the privilege to start a mentorship program the other year, helping those students driven to create original concepts in various mediums under the Vision Creative Unit, doing something similar for emerging filmmakers was a natural extension. In addition, I love seeing a wide spectrum of stories and experiences expressed onscreen.”

Sicat continued: “This is why we wanted to open this up to Filipinos from all over, not just those in Manila with immediate access. We’ve seen with multiple examples, the future of Filipino cinema is very much in the regions. There are so many rich, diverse stories to tell and so many talented, creative people who are ready to tell them.

“I’m so thrilled about the chance to help the next batch of emerging filmmakers. I had such a good role model, being a workshopper of Sir Ricky Lee, our National Artist for Cinema. The way he helped nurture us was so inspiring, it became clear that helping others in this creative path is essential,” Sicat pointed out. “It’s clear Netflix feels the same way since they created a way to give back to the community, and iAcademy as an educational institution is always eager to help the next generation reach heights we could only dream of.”

“The goal is to prepare our participants for their future as filmmakers and empower them to tell local stories and share their distinct, cultural perspectives while setting them up for success,” says Vanessa Tanco, president and CEO of iAcademy, which is known for its software engineering, game development, animation and multimedia arts programs. INQ

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TAGS: Entertainment, Netflix

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