The multi-awarded film ‘Tu Pug Imatuy’ or ‘The Right to Kill’ showcased the graphic struggles of indigenous people in Mindanao as it was again screened in Davao at Cinematheque last June 19.
Inspired by actual events, the story revolves around a Lumad couple, Dawin and Obunay, who are forced to act as guides for soldiers in search of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Directed by Arnel Barbarona, the film premiered in Sinag Maynila, Berlin, and the Tokyo International Film Festival.
It earned awards from Sinag Maynila Film Festival including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Actress.
According to Barbarona, creating the film was no easy feat as it faced budget constraints.
“Tungod sa tight na budget, I did the editing, post-production color grading, sound design, and music,” he said.
Few of the crew also voluntarily provided their services due to the budget problem.
The main characters, Jong Monzon as Dawin and Malona Sulatan as Obunay, were amateurs as it was their first time acting in Tu Pug Imatuy.
Despite this, Malona Sulatan, who was a refugee in her childhood years, was awarded Best Actress.
Jong Monzon explained how being a Lumad and experiencing the injustices first-hand aided in portraying the right emotions for the film.
“Sa first experience nako nga isip aktor nga gi buwis pod ang kinabuhi sa akong amahan, nafeel pod nako nga mahimong Dawin sa istorya,” he shared.
Tu Pug Imatuy gained several praises from critics including Skilty Labastilla from Young Critics Circle who said: “The film makes up for in honesty in storytelling and in imbuing its characters with quiet dignity in the face of harrowing abuse.”