Children caught in Duterte's drug war.
Interview with Director Shallah Montero and Writer Sol Juvida
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
We made the film to shed light on the effects of the drug war on children who are caught in the middle. There is a lack of mental health programs to help them through trauma but with the help of small, private organizations that help them we see their admirable strength.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
We want you to realize the resilience of these children that have seen death but choose to continue on having a childhood. And if you also want to help out so you will know the right organization to donate to so these children can continue with these programs.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I have been following the war on drugs in the news since it started. Seeing the effects of it in a macro sense was harrowing and then I realized this drug war has been changing the mental state of the whole country, the negative energy around and, of course, the children growing up through this war. I have always worked with children and it struck me that some of the kids I'd work with would joke about salvages and drug war buy busts, and what about those who actually saw their parents die?
The war on drugs in our country has been talked about globally due to our controversial president and to see the real effects from his drug war involving children tells a universal truth about the collateral damage of innocent lives burdened by an unneeded war.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
It evolved through various stages because we wanted to be different from a lot of the videos made on the drug war. We realized that we should focus on the voices of the children because they were the ones usually unheard.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We have received a lot of negative feedback from the president's supporters asking us why we were involving children in this issue, but they are already involved from the start and people need to see this side of the drug war. There were a lot of positive responses too telling us how this video was so intense and thanking us for shedding this light on the issue of mental health and children.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
We were all expecting the feedback from Duterte's supporters, they are very vocal online but this didn't change our point of view at all.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
To inform more people about our situation in this country, some foreigners think that the drug war is good for our country and that we have a strong president, we want to change that perspective.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
It would be good to have this film shown in other film festivals to spread the message in different venues and countries.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
An eye-opening one.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How can the government provide mental health programs when they are the ones initiating the killings?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am working on a full length documentary about the war on drugs from the eyes of a mother. We are still in production.
Interview: September 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Paglaki Ko (When I Grow Up)
Children caught in Duterte's drug war.
Who is being interviewed for this article?
Director: Shallah Montero
Producer: PCIJ Story Project
Writer: Sol Juvida
About the writer, director and producer:
SHALLAH MONTERO, a young filmmaker who has covered the drug war, shot this video and SOL JUVIDA, a veteran journalist, wrote the script. This film was supported by The PCIJ Story Project, which provides funding for collaborations between journalists and artists who work together to produce innovative stories.
Looking for: film festival directors, journalists
Funders: Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)
Made in association with: PCIJ
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? It is posted online in PH news channels.