The Palace on Thursday said it was not bothered that a National Geographic documentary on President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign had been shortlisted for the Academy Awards.
The documentary dubbed as The Nightcrawlers features Filipino journalists embarking on a mission to “expose the true cost of the violent campaign,” according to the synopsis.
Through covering both sides of the conflict, the documentary reveals a harrowing twist behind President Duterte’s “deadly crusade,” the synopsis read.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo played down the documentary, noting that the government had produced its own film on the government’s anti-narcotics crackdown.
“I think the judgment on a particular movie or film is based on certain criteria—not necessarily the truth,” Panelo said.
“It’s an independent body of international experts on cinematic film. So, we’d rather not—it’s not our turf,” he added.
Produced by Oscars winner Joanna Natasegara, the documentary has been shortlisted alongside nine others from Netflix, the New York Times Op-Docs and MTV Documentary Films.
The documentary premiered in the US in September 2019 and is helmed by first-time director Alexander Mora.
The final list of nominees for the Oscars will be announced on Jan. 13 next year.
Last week, the Presidential Communications Operations Office also launched a docufilm titled Gramo which features the accomplishments and challenges of Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, in a bid to address “inaccurate narratives” and fight the “negative press.”
It aims to show the “real stories of victims on the ground, transformation of former drug users, law enforcement operations and the crackdown of rogue cops,” according to PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar.