The Global Search for Education: Director Ethan Thomas on Connecting and Reconnecting

C. M. Rubin
3 min readFeb 15


This month audiences can screen Haircuts on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.

Haircuts from Director Ethan Thomas is the story of Don, a student who reconnects with his younger sister, Mia, by asking her to give him a haircut.

The film conveys the bittersweet longing for familiarity after experiencing independence for the first time. The request for a haircut by one sibling to the other closes the distance between them. As time passes in their reunion, a deep sense of nostalgia permeates in the film’s melancholic yet uplifting realization that we all need to reconnect once in a while.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Director Ethan Thomas

What were the biggest challenges you came across when filming Haircuts?

A significant challenge I faced when filming Haircuts actually occurred during the casting phase of the project. Since I come from a Filipino background and wrote the script from that perspective, I wanted the two siblings in the film to be Filipino. However, that was harder to cast than I anticipated because of my limited resources creating this film on my college campus. I eventually ended up casting my roommate, who is Filipino, and another one of my friends who could look like his sister. Thankfully, they ended up doing a good job, and in my opinion their chemistry is a large part of why the film works.

The film has a somber, but touching tone that is balanced throughout. Why do you believe this kind of feeling was important to achieve in this film?

These feelings were certainly what I strived for when I began directing the film. I wanted to create a piece that was about how the bonds we have with family and tradition can help in times when you feel alienated or isolated. Therefore, this balance between melancholy and a more positive tone was important to the story.

The themes of connecting and reconnecting are powerful and relatable. Why do you think this kind of message in particular is important to convey in today’s world?

I think that this message is relevant in today’s world because connection and taking stock of what is important has been made much more crucial in the last few years. Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, where many of our connections with family and friends were strained because of travel and health restrictions. Therefore, I think this film will connect with many audiences.

What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?

As an aspiring filmmaker myself, I would say that if you want to create things, you should just go out and create them. You will learn so much just by trying things and doing many different projects. Also, it’s really fun to work on projects with your friends if you have the time. So, I would recommend that other aspiring filmmakers stay focused and produce as many films as they can.

Thank you Ethan!

C.M. Rubin and Ethan Thomas

Don’t miss Haircuts, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.