Documentary on Marawi wins ‘Golden Hercules Award’ in Germany’s Kasseler Dokfest

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 November) –  A documentary film on the Marawi Siege and its aftermath won the Golden Hercules Award, one of the top prizes of this year’s Kasseler Dokfest in Germany.

‘A House in Pieces’ made by Mindanawon filmmaker Jean Claire Dy and German national Manuel Domes, was chosen winner, because according to Franziska Wank, one of the jurors,  the documentary “is just as moving as it is magnificent in technical design.”

She said the filmmakers show “us the people who had to deal with the act of terrorism and its consequences” and through the “unagitated, unsentimental narrative style, we feel the fear of protagonist Yusop, as he attempts a new beginning within eyeshot of the city center, but nonetheless gets stuck given the overpowering finality of the destruction.”

“The film leaves us with an immediate mixture of empathy for its protagonists and a deep grief given their difficult situation,” she said.

“A House in Pieces” had its Philippine premiere at the inaugural edition of the DaangDokyu Film Festival from October 23 to 29, 2020.

The film portrays the struggles of displaced Meranaws trying to rebuild their lives and homes in the country’s lone Islamic City, following five months of fierce fighting between ISIS-affiliated Maute group and government forces in Marawi City from May 23 to October 23, 2017.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi “liberated from the terrorist influence” on October 17, 2017, a day after the two leaders of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups were killed. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana terminated all combat operations six days later, on October 23.

Three years later, residents in the 250-hectare, 24-barangay Ground Zero, now referred to as “Most Affected Area,”  have yet to return to their villages. A number of displaced continue to live in temporary shelters measuring 22 square meters, shared by several families, their situation made even more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A House in Pieces unfolds as an emotional journey weaving together the stories of its protagonists over a period of two years. Among them, a displaced couple and their children yearning for freedom, income, and comfort after returning to their city. But even to return to normalcy is already a struggle,” a promotional material on the documentary says.

The documentary film is an independent Philippine-German co-production and recently celebrated its world premiere at DMZ International Documentary Film Festival in South Korea.

Dy and Domes said they hope the documentary will spark conversations about the human consequences of the war in Marawi, “to take stock of how we are as a nation and where we are headed.”  (MindaNews)