In many countries of the world democracies are eroding from within. In some countries they are dying. It is a death by a thousand cuts. In the Philippines, journalist Maria Ressa and her team from the news platform Rappler fight against a violent president who executes tens of thousands of people with death squads and turns the country into a dictatorship. Maria is the last woman standing in an unjust war and is being recognized for holding the line against the downfall of democracy by TIME magazine as person of the year in 2018.

Facts, first class journalism and kindness are her defense. She becomes a target of a legal smear campaign by the government and is being imprisoned twice. Duterte weaponizes social media and the law to control the country. Facebook trolls hunt her online and in real life to silence her. The documentary gives a rare behind the scenes access to Maria and her staff and accompanies them over a year during threats to their work and life. Victims of the war, critical politicians in hiding and members of the death squads give insight into the real “war on drugs“ of president Duterte.

Category Documentary
Director Marc Wiese
Production DREAMER JOINT VENTURE Filmproduktion GmbH
Country Germany
Format HD, DCP
Runtime 88/52 min
Year 2020
Broadcaster SWR, Arte, SVT, DR, NRK, SRF
Language English, Tagalog
Subtitles English
Genre Current Affairs & Investigative, Geopolitics, Human Rights, Politics, Society


  • "Winner F:act Award", CPH:DOX*, Denmark - World Premiere (2020)
  • Dokufest, Truth competition, Kosovo (2020)
  • Al Jazeera Balkans Documentary FF, Bosnia & Herzegovina (2020)
  • "Winner: Non-fiction and TV Film Guild Prize", Moscow IFF, Competition, Russia (2020)
  • Nomination German Human Rights Film Award 2020 (Deutscher Menschenrechts-Filmpreis)
  • Mondovisioni Film Festival, Italy (2020)
  • Inconvenient Films, Lithuania (2020)

Quotes & Other

Jury statement of CPH:DOX F:act Award jury:

“The CPH:DOX F:act Award goes to the film depicting dark, troubling events in a skillful yet measured way, smartly focusing on just the right situations while employing a precise cinematic language. One that for all the portrayed hardships still manages to transform into a story about the unbreakable human spirit, providing the kind of narrative, and everyday heroes hell-bent on unearthing the truth, that we all desperately need right now. Making the voices of those fighting for the freedom of speech sound loud and clear, giving us hope for the future.”

The F:act Award jury consisted of Israeli filmmaker Shosh Shlam, the Finnish film critic Marta Balaga and Danish director and journalist Nils Giversen.


Review at Cineuropa by Vladan Petkovic


Review at Modern Times Review by Nick Holdsworth

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