Olivier Sarbil & James Jones

On The President’s Orders
A FRONTLINE with Mongoose Pictures
in association with ARTE France and BBC Storyville
Watch the full film here

Entry details.

This is the searing story of President Duterte’s bloody campaign against drug dealers and addicts in the Philippines, told with unprecedented and intimate access to both sides of the war – the Manila police and an ordinary family from the slum. Over the course of six months, James and Olivier spent weeks on end with the SWAT team, the secretive Special Operations Unit, inside the notoriously overcrowded prisons and shadowing the work of police chief Modequillo. Through this, they built a rare picture of the brutality with which the police treat prisoners and suspects, of the atmosphere of impunity that has led to a casual disregard for the value of life, and of the mechanics of the so-called “vigilante” killings.

Watch the full piece here.


Olivier Sarbil is an award-winning French documentary Director and Emmy-winning Cinematographer based in London. Over the past decade, he has worked extensively in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, North America and Asia, on many of the most pressing global conflicts and social issues that the world has faced.

James Jones is an award-winning British Director who makes documentary films for international television and theatrical release. His documentaries tell extraordinary human stories from some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous places. The films combine journalistic rigour with a distinctive cinematic sensibility. He has made films about police shootings in America, the drug war in the Philippines, suicide in the military, wars in Ukraine, Iraq, and Gaza, undercover investigations in Saudi Arabia and North Korea, and riots in the UK.

Read Hattie Young and Star McFarlane’s profile on Olivier and James here.

Judges comments.

“Alerting the world to Duterte’s human rights abuses, this is a visually amazing documentary, shot with tension and urgency, that plunges the viewer into the very heart of Manila’s murderous war against drugs.”

Sony Impact Award for Current Affairs Jury