PH drug war documentary ‘Aswang’ eligible for Oscar consideration

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2021 07:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 02 2021 09:34 AM

A scene from 'Aswang.' Handout

MANILA – “Aswang,” a documentary on the government’s war on drugs, has qualified for consideration in the documentary feature category of the 93rd Academy Awards.

The film became eligible after it won the prestigious White Goose Award at the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival in September 2020.

Based on its official synopsis, “Aswang” follows a group of people whose fates entwine with the growing violence over two years of killings in Manila. 

Among them are Bro. Jun Santiago, a photojournalist and missionary brother who comforts bereaved families and makes a stand against lawlessness, and Jomari, a street kid whose parents are in prison for drug use.

“I am very grateful to Jomari, Bro. Jun Santiago of the Redemptorist Brothers, everyone who shared their lives and stories with us and everyone else that I worked with on this film,” said director Alyx Arumpac.

“I am happy that our efforts to shed light on how vast a problem the drug war is in the Philippines is garnering more attention worldwide,” she added.

Since it premiered at the 2019 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the documentary has already made the rounds in various international film festivals.

“Aswang” has also earned several recognitions, the most recent of which was the Best Picture award at last year’s FAMAS.

In July last year, “Aswang” was streamed in the Philippines for a limited time through the film’s official social media pages. It was also screened at the Nation section and at the #HuwagMatakot Halloween Fest of Daang Dokyu Film Festival in October.

"We are overwhelmed by the support we received during these screenings. We hope this encourages more conversations about the issue and a change of perception among those who support this war on drugs," said producer Armi Rae Cacanindin. 

Currently, the team behind the documentary is collaborating with civic organizations Dakila and Active Vista so that “Aswang” may reach more audiences in various sectors of the society.

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