Aswang, a Docu on the Drug War, Wins Best Picture at FAMAS


A gritty documentary on the violence and terror of the notorious drug war, Aswang bagged four major awards at the 2020 Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards. Aswang bagged: Best Picture, Best Documentary, Best Cinematography (by Alyx Ayn Arumpac and Tanya Haurylchyk), and Best Editing (Fatima Bianchi and Anne Fabini).

It’s the first time a documentary has bagged Best Picture in almost 70 years.

“With so many excellent films nominated, I recognize that giving the award to a film like Aswang is a statement in itself from FAMAS and the Philippine film community, a firm stand on everything that is happening in our country,” said directed Alyx Arumpac in a Facebook post.

“So we humbly offer this award to every single Filipino who has suffered under this regime of impunity. No one deserves to be murdered in the streets, tortured, kidnapped and held in secret prison cells. No mothers should be separated forcefully from their babies. No one should be arrested and harassed for speaking out and telling the truth. No child should ever have to grow up fearing the police and thinking violence is normal. We all deserve to live our lives in freedom and dignity.”


ASWANG (2019) trailer from ASWANG on Vimeo.

Directed by Arumpac and produced by Armi Rae Cacanindin, the 70-minute documentary relives the height of the drug war in 2016 and 2017 when extrajudicial killings were reported night after night. Like the monster of Philippine mythology the movie is named after, the film depicts the real life horror that took place after dark that resulted in the deaths of thousands.

Since its release in late 2019, Aswang has won countless awards at international film festivals and awarding shows. But this 2020 FAMAS award in the country that drug war has affected is a monumental win for both the filmmakers and the affected communities they represented.

Other big winners in the 2020 FAMAS were Verdict, Babe at Baril, Fuccbois, Kalel, 15, Cleaners, Tokwifi, and For My Alien Friend. This year’s Fernando Poe. Jr. Memorial Award was given to veteran actress Angel Locsin, while the FAMAS Lifetme Achievement Awardees included Ricky Lee, Rox Lee, and Armida Siguion-Reyna.

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