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A Filipino Film Might Be In The Oscars! Here’s What We Know About Aswang
By Mika Reyes
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Award winning Filipino film, Aswang, is up for an Oscar. This might be our closest chance to winning the prestigious title.

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The award-winning film may be titled Aswang, but there’s nothing mythical about it. The film by Alyx Ayn Arumpac is a documentary about the drug wars during President Rodrigo Duterte’s first year in Malacañang. In the 2016 elections, then candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte made it very clear that he wanted to eradicate the Philippines from “illegal drug personalities”. Many voters found this as an enticing proposition, thus leading him to presidency. As a result, there were around 7000 deaths from July 2016 to January 2017. Director, Alyx Arumpac, and her team documented the events during this time and produced a masterpiece out of it. Filipinos have consistently been submitting entries to The Academy for years now. The last hopeful film was a 2013 movie by Jun Robles Lana titled, Bwakaw. Now, we are placing all our bets on Aswang and here’s why.

Oscars, IFDA, Aswang, Filipino, Documentary
Aswang during the International Critic’s Prize (Fipresci) at the 2019 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)


Aswang made FAMAS history
The 2020 Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards awarded the film four winning titles in a full sweep. The documentary bagged: Best Picture, Best Documentary, Best Editing, and Best Cinematography. It’s the first time in 70 years that a documentary won Best Picture in the FAMAS.

The film has a total of 9 wins from around the world
Apart from the accolades Aswang has received in the Philippines, the documentary has also claimed titles from international festivals. The picture has received the following awards: Winner of the Amnesty International Award in the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Winner of the Grand Prize in the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize in the IDFA Competition for First Appearance, and much more.

Aswang qualified for an Oscar after winning the White Goose Award
In the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, Aswang took home the Grand Prize. The White Goose Award is recognized in the film industry as Asia’s largest documentary festival. Winning such a title gave Aswang the credibility to be nominated for Best Documentary in the Oscars.


There is so much hope for Aswang in the Oscars, because we haven’t had a film that was this respected internationally for so long. We can all thank Director Alyx Arumpac and her team for creating such a hard-hitting documentary about a very controversial time in the Philippines.

In the past, the Philippines was not able to go far in the Oscars because of a lack of funds for promoting the film. Let’s do our part by sharing the news about Aswang to our friends and family, so we can get the word out on how truly amazing Filipino talent can be.