Filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz’s gripping and informative documentary A Thousand Cuts, which received a Grand Jury Prize nomination from the Sudance Film Festival, is now available for viewing on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel. Philippine journalist (and Rappler CEO) Maria Ressa’s determination to report on President Rodrigro Duterte’s war on drugs, despite constant threats of jail time, is front and center in the documentary.
One of the strongest facets of A Thousand Cuts is director Ramona S. Diaz’s determination to bring a bigger canvas to the overall picture. Along with delving into the life of Maria Ressa, we spend time with Rappler journalists Pia Ranada and Patricia Evangelista as they step into the fray and cover subject matters which puts them and Rappler into the continued firing line of the Philippine government.
Diaz also enables us to see the other side of the coin, as we see why entertainer Mocha Uson, a fervent supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, is passionate about Duterte’s war on drugs. The freedom of the press continues to be at stake in the Philippines, and this controversial topic was covered last year in director Ben Rekhi’s feature Watch List. That film would make a great double feature with A Thousand Cuts, which continues to receive a healthy share of accolades:
We’re honored — thank you, IFP!
And congratulations to Garrett Bradley and the entire ‘Time’ team! We’re in great company!
“If you don’t use your rights, you will lose them,” said Ressa, who, in June 2020 was convicted of Cyber Libel and is appealing the case (the sentence carries prison time of up to six years). Named TIME Person of the Year, Ressa had a choice between living in the U.S. and the Philippines, and she chose to dedicate her life to the latter.
The full Frontline documentary of A Thousand Cuts is here:
Diaz does not inject herself into the documentary, and that aesthetic choice also elevates A Thousand Cuts. By giving viewers a bird’s eye view on the various players in this tenuous situation, we are given a fully fleshed portrait of journalists are risking it all for a country they love.
As a Filipino American, I’ve been blessed to visit the Philippines several times but only as a tourist. A Thousand Cuts goes beyond the surface view of the age old press vs. government battles, and hopefully this documentary will be explored by documentary and investigative reporting enthusiasts on a worldwide level. I’ll be discussing A Thousand Cuts this week with my Find Your Film co-hosts Bruce Purkey and Eric Holmes.