‘Nightcrawlers,’ Nat Geo documentary on Duterte’s war on drugs, shortlisted for Oscar nom

<I>Photo: National Geographic</I>
Photo: National Geographic

A National Geographic documentary about President Rodrigo Duterte’s internationally condemned war on drugs has been shortlisted in the “Documentary Short Subject” category at the 92nd Academy Awards next year.

The Nightcrawlers was among 10 films shortlisted among the 69 which qualified in its category. The list will be narrowed down to five official nominees ahead of the awards show in February.

National Geographic describes the documentary short as an “unflinching exposé” of Duterte’s drug war, featuring “a small group of determined photojournalists on a mission to expose the true cost of the violent campaign.”

“Through covering both sides of the conflict, The Nightcrawlers reveals a harrowing twist behind Duterte’s deadly crusade,” the film’s synopsis reads.

Directed by Alexander Mora, and produced by Joanna Natasegara, the film also features photojournalist Raffy Lerma and multimedia journalist Patricia Evangelista.

It’s no secret that the government’s bloody war on drugs — launched when Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016 — has resulted in the extrajudicial killings of thousands upon thousands of drug suspects, whom the government somewhat unconvincingly accuses of having “fought back” against arrest.

The administration has waffled on how best to execute the campaign, which Duterte himself acknowledged had turned out to be harder than he anticipated. Duterte critic and Vice President Leni Robredo, who had spoken out against the killings, was briefly made “anti-drug czar” following a fit of pique by the president, but was abruptly booted after just two weeks after attempting to make reforms.

Whether Nightcrawlers has made the final list of nominees will be revealed in January, and the Academy Awards ceremony itself will be held the following month at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

And now might be a good time to dust off your VPNs, readers. The film can be streamed for free on the National Geographic website, but can only be accessed in U.S. territories.

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