Via Dazed Digital
The war on drugs in the Philippines is relatively unspoken about in the mainstream Western media, despite the persistent violence and killings that have been occurring since Rodrigo Duterte was elected as president in 2016. Setting out to explore the effect that Duterte’s war on drugs is having today, filmmaker and visual artist Jess Kohl discovered a thriving punk scene in Manila and Tarlac, which she describes to Dazed as “an unexpected subculture happening in a troubled part of the world.”
With the intention of giving a voice to the people who are suffering from a war that is targeting them, Kohl’s new short film Anarchy in the Philippines focuses on an underground community living on the outskirts of a society where looking different is a courageous act: “If you wear something different, you’re a drug addict”, says one of the main characters of Kohl’s film. “If you look different – you’re a drug addict again”.
Through Kohl’s intimate close-up filming style, we see the power, the anger, and the sweat that the punk scene exudes, getting up close and personal with the way that these people dress, the tattoos they engrave on their bodies, and the music they lose themselves in. Later this year, she will release a full-length cut of the film, with the aim of keeping this important story in the public consciousness. We spoke to Kohl about why she was drawn into this DIY community, and the fearful, adrenaline-fuelled process of shooting the film.
Read the interview here.