Reality Check Panel Discussion
March 16-21, 2020
March 16, 2020 | 9:35 - 10:40 PM
Moderator: Lourd de Veyra
The Duterte regime's war on drugs is a campaign entwined with propaganda and disinformation. The end goal is an imagined eradication of drug use and trade, misleadingly claimed to be the primary ill of the nation. How is the film Aswang made in this context and what are the stories behind it? In this Reality Check session, we examine the workings of such a system of controlled confusion, which has led people to believe in the justness of retribution through the deaths of thousands of civilians suspected as drug users and pushers. Who are the architects of this drug war and what are the layers of this deadly campaign that rammed through the country's justice system? How are they getting away with it? What gap does the war on drugs fill in the context of current politics and social control? What could be the bigger picture? Are there similar times in our history? How has language been used to shape the debate? Given the longer production time of documentaries, what role can they have in shaping public opinion on urgent issues? Ultimately, what can and should be done by ordinary people who are aware of the ongoing violence and injustice?
March 17, 2020 | 6:45 - 7:30 PM
Moderator: Boy Abunda
The planet is facing a climate and ecological crisis, and the Philippines, along with other struggling nations, is in a very vulnerable position. Impacts of sea-level rise, increased frequency and unpredictability of extreme weather events, and rising temperatures have been in the foreground of our people's woes in the past decades. This Reality Check session will examine the roots of our vulnerability to natural calamities, how our long history of colonialism and post-colonial servility may have stripped us of our natural defenses, and how the same history has dwarfed the development of a scientific culture in the country. Taking off from this program of films depicting the ravages of Typhoon Yolanda and Sendong, as well as the massive environmental degradation following the Japanese Occupation, we yearn to ask: Are there deeper roots to our vulnerability to natural calamities? How is the Filipinos' much-admired resilience allowing them to survive and rebuild after adversity while also letting environmental culprits get away with profit-driven destruction and the government with lack of accountability? What is scientific culture? How do we reconcile scientific culture with Philippine culture? How have documentaries depicted disasters? What can documentaries about disasters do in helping develop scientific culture? Why is it important for ordinary people to know the larger contexts of the disasters we are facing? What can we do as citizens on different levels?
March 18, 2020 | 6:40 - 7:45 PM
Moderator: Atom Araullo
This Reality Check session discusses historical revisionism. In a society of spectacle, what is truth and what is propaganda? What is historical revisionism? How do the powerful use images, media, and education to secure more power? Are outsider perspectives considered accurate or essential? How have documentaries countered historical revisionism and what more can be done to serve an educational purpose? Ultimately, we want to ask: Can the masses own their history or will it always be written on their behalf?
March 19, 2020 | 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Moderators: Jun Sabayton & Chiara Zambrano
Mental health awareness is not homogenous. It varies with gender, maturity, and social status, among other factors. In this Reality Check session, we ask: What weighs down women? What weighs down members of the LGBTQ community? What weighs down children? What is the common factor among these sectors? How will you frame mental health in the context of poverty and overall lack of access to agency in the country? Ultimately, how do we respond to the issues that society would rather not talk about, such as identity and mental health, issues that affect different sectors, especially the youth? Are documentaries safe spaces to discuss them? How can documentaries serve to prompt dialogue and public conversations?
March 20, 2020 | 7:40 - 8:20 PM
Moderator: Dr. Mike Tan
Speakers: Mark Lester Valle, Carla Pulido Ocampo, Bagane Fiola, Sherbien Dacalinio, Jay Rosas, Teddy Co, Tito Valiente
The varied landscape of the archipelago is mirrored in the varied filmmaking cultures in the Philippines. In this Reality Check session, we examine documentary works made in the regions and the experiences of making them from different vantage points. How do the shapes and characteristics of our islands create conditions for this diversity? What is national and what is regional? Who defines the regions? How do the filmmakers position themselves in the context of national cinema? How do these identifications derived from the country's bureaucratic segmentation concretely impact people's access to the country's cultural infrastructure? Ultimately, what is the role of diversity of language, vantage points, and representations in Philippine cinema in developing the Filipino audience? How can independent cinema be closer to the masses? What does the public stand to benefit from a more diverse Philippine cinema?
March 21, 2020 | 6:20 - 7:00 PM
Moderator: Mae Paner
We live in an age when the internet, far from being just a tool for information and connectivity, has been weaponized for national and transnational political agenda. With an estimated 76 million internet users, the Philippines boasts the heaviest internet usage in the world. In a period of great political tension and social unrest, the Filipino connectivity can be both beneficial and problematic. It has become important to ask: Who is in control? What are the hard and soft ways through which the internet has been used as a weapon against us? What is the material infrastructure that enables the weaponization of the internet through fake news and misinformation? Why are we so culturally assailable? What does this mean for us, in the context of the instability of the country's democratic processes and institutions? As documentary practitioners, how does the digital world affect our storytelling? This Reality Check session interrogates this vulnerability. Ultimately, it brainstorms different levels of safeguards and solutions with which the Filipino netizens and documentary practitioners can guide themselves in navigating the now closely entwined digital-social-political.