“Anak, makakamit mo ’yung hustisya. Tandaan mo ‘yan,” (Son, we will get justice someday. Remember that) a weeping mother is heard halfway through the trailer of “Aswang.” While the title alludes to mythological creatures, the documentary chronicles real-life events.
If you’ve been scouring Facebook groups for ways to find the film, online festival Dokyu Power is giving everyone a chance to watch it for free. A documentary focusing on the impact of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs—especially to the poor and vulnerable—”Aswang” bagged multiple recognitions from the 2021 Gawad Urian (best picture, best documentary, best cinematography, best director) and the 2019 International Documentary Film Festival in the Netherlands (FIPRESCI award). Last year, it also qualified for consideration in the 93rd Academy Awards for the best documentary category, along with 237 other contenders, before they were shortlisted to 15.
According to its synopsis, Alyx Ayn Arumpac’s debut feature follows a group of individuals caught in the same “growing violence during the first two years of extrajudicial killings in Manila.” Among these are Jomari, a young friend of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, who was shot by police in 2017; and Brother Jun, a religious worker-slash-photojournalist who heads to crime scenes and funerals to document them, and helps families bury their dead.
Other films in Dokyu Power’s lineup include more films about the drug war, Martial Law, and also international movies that tackle sociopolitical issues and seeking justice. The catalog also has short films that shed light on social structures like “Filipiñana,” which follows Isabel, a new “tee-girl” in a golf course.
“Through the power of these films, we embark on ways of seeing through the lens of humanity. By presenting films that project truths on human conditions in the Philippines and all over the world, we weave the parallels of history and of people’s struggles towards empowerment,” the festival notes state Dokyu Power is organized by FilDocs (Filipino Documentary Society) with nonprofit DAKILA and Active Vista Center.
The festival runs from Feb. 25 to April 9. You can catch “Aswang” for free on Cinema Centenario’s MOOV platform starting March 11.
Still from “Aswang”