Movies & TV

NatGeo Documentary The Nightcrawlers Exposes the Drug War From the Lens of Photojournalists

'A picture is worth a thousand lives.'
IMAGE Br. Jun Santiago, CSsR
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Since the current administration’s notorious war on drugs was launched in 2016, it has been the subject of local and international outrage. The divisive drug war has caused a split in Philippine society, with no solution in sight. Three years since the drug war began, headlines pertaining to drug war casualties have become less frequent, as if the issue has been settled and silenced. But in reality, the war is still not over and its impact remains. 

National Geographic’s new documentary titled The Nightcrawlers will bring viewers back to the harrowing nights of 2016 when the drug war was at its peak. The documentary takes a different approach to reporting the drug war, told through the eyes of the people who were often the first on the scene—the photojournalists, a.k.a Manila’s Nightcrawlers.

The documentary describes them as “a small group of determined photojournalists on a mission to expose the true cost of the deadly war on drugs waged by Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte.” Just some of the members of this group include veteran photojournalist Raffy Lerma and Hildegarde awardee journalist Patricia Evangelista.

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The trailer of The Nightcrawlers dropped just earlier this week, and is sure to give you goosebumps.

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The documentary is produced by Academy Award-winning producer Joanna Natasegara, who was behind the critically acclaimed short film The White Helmets, which told the story of three volunteers working to rescue victims of the Syrian Civil War. Natasegara worked with Alexander A. Mora, who will make his directorial debut with the documentary.

The Nightcrawlers will premiere in October on the National Geographic Channel, followed by a wide digital release. The documentary is part of National Geographic Documentary Films’ venture into short films. The debut slate will include The Nightcrawlers, as well as Lost and Found, which will expose the “brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing and violence perpetrated by the Myanmar military” against the marginalized Rohingya minority.

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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