Duterte, Imelda Marcos docus target Oscars’ best documentary feature

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A documentary about President Rodrigo Duterte and another focusing on the dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ wife, Imelda Marcos, were submitted in the Academy Awards, targetting to qualify in Oscars’ official nominees for best documentary feature.

James Jones and Olivier Sarbil’s “On the President’s Orders” highlights on President Duterte‘s much-criticized war on drugs. The documentary premiered in the US on June 15 at Lincoln Center during the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

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James Jones and Olivier Sarbil's “On the President’s Orders”
James Jones and Olivier Sarbil’s “On the President’s Orders” (Image from www2.gulf-times.com)

“The thesis of ‘On the President’s Orders’ isn’t terribly original. Still, in a needlessly roundabout way, it makes its case that these killings are not the work of isolated individuals, but the product of a top-down culture that stems from Duterte’s assent,” said the New York Times’ review on October 3.

“On the President’s Orders” was shown in the Philippines on September 20. Malacañang said it “reek[ed] of malice,” while human rights advocates say the documentary could be used against President Duterte.

Duterte, Imelda Marcos docus target Oscars’ best documentary feature

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Imelda Marcons on The King Maker
Imelda Marcos on “The King Maker” (Image from Variety)

Photographer-turned-documentarian Lauren Greenfield’s latest film, “The Kingmaker,” shows a quirky profile of Imelda Marcos resembling Jackie Kennedy by way of Lucille Bluth.

“The Kingmaker” premiered at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival in August.

Variety magazine called the Imelda Marcos documentary a “jaw-dropping” documentary.  Screen International, meanwhile, said “The Kingmaker” “would seem to be ideal subject matter for documentarian Lauren Greenfield, who targeted the elite’s sickening overabundance in ‘The Queen of Versailles’ and ‘Generation Wealth.’”

“On the President’s Orders” and “The Kingmaker” were among the 159 films from around the world the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has listed.

The Academy will announce the official list of nominees on January 13, 2020.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be on February 9, 2020.

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