10 Jan A Golden Movie Tainted by a Dog’s Blood

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JUAN SAYS: We would like to applaud the Metro Manila Film Festival 2016 for their great film selection this year. Truly this is what a festival should be. Yet we couldn’t help but see that the glorious festival there was (and we are hoping that there would be more) was tainted with blood… from a dog. Many have reacted and expressed disgust over the killing of the dog, but who’s fault was it really?

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Here is the summary of the meeting as posted by Liza Dino-Seguerra:

ON THE INQUIRY BETWEEN PAWS and ORO PRODUCTION REGARDING “ANIMAL CRUELTY” SCENE ON THEIR FILM

Yesterday, the MMFF Executive Committee met with representatives from both the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the production team of Oro.

MMFF execom acted as mediators for this inquiry. Let me enumerate the things that were established by the two parties:

PAWS
1. PAWS has received numerous reports about the killing of a real dog during the filming of ORO.
2. They believe members of ORO production violated RA 8485- the Animal Welfare Act And should be held accountable if proven guilty
3. They are still gathering their own evidence and what they have right now are admission from some members of ORO production team (they can’t assure yet if those will testify against ORO)
4. PAWS said in the course of our dialogue that it did not have any affiant-witness to present (who has direct personal knowledge).
5. If proven to have committed a crime, they are requesting the MMFF executive committee to have the film pulled out and awards withdrawn.
6. PAWS brought a legal counsel to represent them.
7. Counsel for PAWS admits that he has not seen the film.

ORO
1. The representative of ORO who was present during the EXECOM screening of ORO admitted to lying to us and those present when she said they used a goat and prosthetics during the dog scene. They said it was out of panic.
2. There was no attempt to retract the statement from that point on.
3. They acknowledged that they received a text from MMFF marketing committee Ida Tiongson to coordinate with PAWS about the dog scene.
4. They acknowledged that they received the recommendation to put a disclaimer in the movie that “no animal was harmed during the filming” but chose to not follow the recommendation.
5. Oro production reiterated that No animal was harmed “for the purpose of the film”. They said it was within the bounds of culture in that area where dogs are eaten as food.
6. A real dog was killed during the filming of the movie.
7. No one from the production did the actual killing of the dog.
8. The dog killed and gutted in the film was the same dog seen alive during the establishing shot.
9. ORO brought their own legal counsel to represent them.

There have been statements made by both the MMFF and Oro, but during the January 3 meeting with ORO, Paws and the MMFF, it was evident that the film can be seen as the one at fault here. They have received advises and warnings from the MMFF through Ida Tiongson about coordinating with PAWS and adding a disclaimer that no animals were harmed during the filmmaking process, but the film itself refused to do such.

Here is the question of JUAN, if the film was given enough warnings and the MMFF just received a cold shoulder, should they have proceeded in including ORO in the final roster of films to be shown? Isn’t there a provision in the MMFF’s guidelines that should state that “if any of the Philippine laws were violated, the film(s) in question will be sanctioned and not be included in the roster of entries to the MMFF.” We at Juan believe that this is something that the MMFF could consider in the next festivals to come.

If the MMFF wants to be a true-blooded festival, a festival that has credibility and integrity, it should, in our humblest opinion, should have the sharpest teeth and bigger balls. And bigger balls would mean accepting responsibility, moral or otherwise, and not merely hide behind the guidelines of the festival. No one’s hands are tied. It is time to draw the line between artistic freedom and moral responsibility.

They have also been caught lying, and making up excuses such as using a goat instead of a dog, but was otherwise overturned with the truth that the dog that we all saw in the film is the same dog that was killed. We have also read statements upon statements of those who are on the side of ORO that many of us, expressing disgust over the killing of the dog, have refused to see the point of the movie. To quote: “what is more important? The injustice against the victims of Carmoan or a dog?” But to us in JUAN, that is really not the question. The real question here is, do we really need to sacrifice the life of a dog to stress that point?

Many of those who’ve watched the movie quivered on the scenes. True that we have seen more brutally STAGED killings of human beings in other films, but it did not make us feel that something was off. At the end of it all, we all know that whatever we saw in those other films were just STAGED. The key word here is STAGED, something that we oddly felt was not done in Oro.

We do understand that eating dog meat is part of the culture in that location, the Caramoan region, yet we really do not wish to see it on big screen – the brutality of how it was killed no matter if it was deliberate or if it was just another “ritual” that the crew happened to see during the filming process. We do not need to see any of that. It is very disturbing. We feel that doing it realistically is an overkill. Over na. Over talaga!

What is even funny is that the defenders of the film are waving the artistic expression card. Fuck that. Would anyone murder a person for real just to get the message across? Not if the director is insane, So what makes it right for animals, dogs for that matter, to be killed in the process of the film just to establish their culture? Again it is an overkill.

To give a rebuttal to the argument of the defenders, while we would like to believe that the death of the miners is more important, moreover, the crux of the film, the death of the dog is an unnecessary discomfort just in establishing the culture and rituals of Caramon. We are sure that there are more things “bright and beautiful” over there than, well brutally killing a dog for art’s sake. Ano ba! Para namang napaka-elementary ng kausap!

We saw this post by Shakira Villa Symes that further stresses our point:

“Nagpahayag pa ang director na pinakita lang daw nila ang kultura sa location nila dahil yun daw ang kultura dun. So dito ako mas nagalit — they were able to stage the deaths of the miners then they could have done so with the slaughtering of the dog! And now they cried foul at everyone’s shock and dismay with defensive posts such as ‘crab mentality’, ‘it’s the culture anyways’ and ‘what’s more important the injustice against the oppressed or a dog?”. Would anyone murder a person for real to convey a message of oppression on film?? So what makes it right that an animal has to be killed too? Enough of the artist-victim defensive stance. What was done was NOT PROFESSIONAL because if it was then Steven Spielberg IS A FUCKING AMATEUR for staging the deaths of Jews in Schindler’s List. James Cameron IS AN AMATEUR for not drowning real people when he filmed the Titanic.
Regarding ‘actual practice ang pagkatay ng aso’, then maging literal na ang lahat — The central indigenous tribes of Papua New Guinea practice cannibalism. It is part of their culture. Since the location of a film is in those parts, its director chooses to show real cannibalism. Slaughter a human being, show it being eaten and defend that decision by saying that’s how it is in those parts anyways.
There are remote places in Africa where rape of minors is legal. It is part of their culture. Since a movie is being shot there where a village and its villagers happen to be victims of militarization and oppression, the movie outfit decides to show a real rape scene of a child to showcase the legal rape culture. That’s how it is in those parts anyways. — Ganun ba ang literal justification for cinematic purposes? Just to convey a metaphor? Ganun ba ang cinematic PROFESSIONALISM?

Maybe to some filmmakers, that is actually the case. We’re wondering if they would kill a person in their next film for fucking art’s sake!

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