PH’s ‘Aswang’ wins grand prize at 12th DMZ Int’l Documentary Film Festival in Korea

Filipino director Alyx Ayn Arumpac’s “Aswang” won the grand prize at the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, or DMZ Docs, held from Sept. 17 to 24 in South Korea.

“Aswang,” a Philippines-France production, was selected by the jury to win the White Goose Award, the grand prize, “given to the best film in the International Competition section.” The film was also awarded 15 million won (about $12,771 or P619,000) as cash prize.

“In 2016, a machinery was set in motion to execute suspected drug peddlers, users, and small-time criminals in the Philippines. ‘Aswang’ follows people whose lives entwine with the growing violence,” according to the synopsis on the film’s website.

Arumpac “studied film at the Docnomads Joint Master (Lisbon, Budapest, and Brussels) and the University of the Philippines.”

Japan’s “I-Documentary of the Journalist” by Mori Tatsuya won the Special Jury Award, or second best film in the International Competition, and was awarded 7 million won (about $5,960 or P289,000). “Of Land and Bread” by Ehab Tarabieh received a Special Mention.

Other films in the International Competition section were Denmark-South Korea’s “Community of Parting” by Jane Jin Kaisen, Singapore’s “Dream of Singapore” by Lei Yuanbin, Argentina-France’s “La Vida en Común” by Ezequiel Yanco, Israel-Palestine’s The Netherlands’ “Our Motherland” by Shamira Raphaela, India-South Korea’s “Pearl of the Desert” by Pushpendra Singh, Iran-Norway’s “Sunless Shadows” by Mehrdad Oskouei, China’s “Tough Out” by Xu Huijing and Armenia-France’s “Village of Women” by Tarmara Stepanyan.

Alyx Ayn Arumpac’s “Aswang” bagged the White Goose Award at the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival (Photo courtesy of DMZ Docs)

Another entry from the Philippines, “Last Days at Sea” by Venice Atienza, was awarded Excellent Project (Rough Cut Presentation) in the 2020 DMZ Industry Awards.

At the 12th DMZ Docs, “You and I” by Fanny Chotimah bagged the Asian Perspective Award and “If We Burn” by James Leong and Lynn Lee received the Next Award;

In the Korean Competition, “Men Who Won’t Pick Up Guns 2: Breaking a Taboo” by Kim Hwantae was given the Best Korean Documentary Award; and “I Am Chosun People” by Kim Cheolmin won runner-up or the Special Jury Award.

The Asian Development Foundation Award went to “The Birth of Resonance” by Lee Jeongjun in the feature film category and “Water Child (Mizuko)” by Kira Dane and Katelyn Rebelo in the short film category.

Other winners are: “Comfort by Lee Hyerin, Brave New Docs Award; “Comfort” by Emmanuel Moonchil Park, Beautiful New Docs Award; “Way” by Jo Minhee, “Are You Taking a Good Rest?” by Han Kyoung-yun; “Joyfail” by Yang Joo-yeon and “¹®±úÁü½ºÆ®” by Kim Hae-eun, Young Perspective Award; “Blemish” by Kim Do-ye, Infinite Imagination Award; “Reply Passion Era” by Park Hyebeen, Beyond Creativity Award; “People in Elancia” by Park Yunjin, Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award; “The Way We Wait” by Park Jiyoon, DMZ Short Documentary Award; “Cats’ Apartment” by Jeong Jae-eun, Distribution Support Award; and “Great Contract: Paju, Book, City,” DMZ Arts Contribution Award.

The DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, or DMZ Docs, started in 2009. DMZ is the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which measures 4 km. wide and a length of 248 km., created in 1953 after the Korean War ended and the armistice was signed that separated South and North Korea.