National Geographic docu on PH journalists covering drug war in Oscars 2020 shortlist

MANILA, Philippines – The Nightcrawlers, a National Geographic documentary which followed a group of Philippine journalists covering President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody "drug war," has been shortlisted for the Documentary Short Subject categorty of the 92nd Academy Awards. 

The documentary offers an "an unflinching exposé of Philippines President Duterte’s war on drugs, in which some claim over 20,000 people have been killed."

Featured in the documentary are several names in Philippines journalism, including photojournalist Raffy Lerma. Lerma was a photojournalist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, among the country's top dailies.

"Through covering both sides of the conflict, The Nightcrawlers reveals a harrowing twist behind Duterte’s deadly crusade," reads National Geographic's synopsis of the documentary. 

The final list of nominees for the Oscars will be announced on January 13, 2020 (in the US) yet. 

The documentary premiered in the US in September 2019 and is helmed by first-time director Alexander A Mora. The film is produced by Joanna Natasegara, whose 2017 work The White Helmets won an Oscar. The White Helmets followed volunteer rescue workers in Syria. 

The Nightcrawlers can be streamed on the National Geographic website but only in the United States or its territories. 

Eradicating drugs via a "drug war" was among Duterte's key campaign promises when he ran for president in 2016. He did not waste time upon assuming office. Human rights groups estimate tens of thousands have been killed as a result of both supposedly legitimate police operations and kills by vigilante groups. The government insists on a much lower figure. 

Over 3 years later, however, Duterte himself has admitted to shortcomings in the bloody campaign. The "drug war" is still ongoing. Duterte promised he would ride the country of the "drug menace" in 3-6 months. –