Ronald Awa – Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf

Gamechanger – Ronald Awa 

Community Champion – Filmmaking

Photo by Donell Gumiran

Ronald Awa is on cloud nine these days as this year, the prestigious Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has recognized his platform, the Emirates Short Film Festival (ESFF), for shining the spotlight on emerging filmmakers and actors across the region and paving the way for a diverse group of rising talents within the region’s young, vast mediascape.

“Organizing a film festival is challenging, but I am equally fulfilled if successfully done,” he says. ESFF is now on the 7th edition with active participation from talented UAE-based filmmakers.  Former theater director, Ronald founded the ESFF in 2012 as a platform to bolster talents in the country.   Since then, the festival has received hundreds of entries from around the emirates.

Aside from organizing film festivals, Ron also spearheads the long-running Emirates Group Photography Club and has influenced many Filipinos to reach out and try new things, exploring different artistic mediums that are out of their comfort zones. He believes that his lasting legacy is to expose the world to the art of Filipino photography and cinematography.

“Filipinos should start to think globally but also preserve that aspiration to always do better in all aspects of life, whether in our workplace, when meeting people within a casual backdrop, through social gatherings and even in political discourses.”


Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf is Supported by: Kaya Skin Clinic,  Emirates Airline, and Unilever.

Special Thanks to Michael CincoEzra Couture , GiordanoDarcey FlowersIKON SolutionsVictors FreightMPQ Tourism, Asia Gulf Companies –La Carne & Filfood, WOL Water

Get a copy of Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf Legacy Edition

Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos Legacy Edition 2020

Ronald Awa

Community Champion

Thousands of aspiring filmmakers and photographers in the UAE have Ron Awa to thank for championing platforms that allow them avenues for their creative expression.

Photo by Jef Anog

Founder of the Emirates Short Film Festival (ESFF) – now going into its 6th year, with over 500 short films and other award-winning content produced by local talents, and the Emirates Group Photography Club, founded on the same year and still running with some 3000 members, Ron has been the modest prime advocate in the field since 2008.

Moving forward in the new year, Ron is excited to be working in collaboration with the renowned Sikka Art and Film Festival, where the next generation of ESFF participants will showcase their work.  Further still, the passionate film-aficionado has his sights set on taking the ESFF to the next level.  “I plan to continue the promotion of UAE-based film-maker talents by hopefully bringing the winning ESFF films to the Cannes Short Film Corner next year, along with the winning crew,” Ron adds.

With thousands of untapped talents spread across the physical and digital world, Ron Awa continues to reach out to future cinematographers in the region, collaborating with various organizations in the process bolstering interest in local indie cinema and talent.  He reminds enthusiasts, “The business of film-making requires teamwork, attention to detail, innovation, and communication. I encourage current and future filmmakers to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share common goals and dreams.”



Special thanks to our sponsors: Emirates Airline, Stars n Bars La Mer, Liali, Instax – Grandstores UAE, Dusit Thani Dubai, Gver – Your Friendly Marketplace for Sharing, Meeting Dancewear , MPQ, CMG, Filbrit, and our partners Rozen Antonio Photography,  Alex Callueng Photography, Jef Anog Photography, and Ethereal Photography.


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