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Arts & Culture

FRONTLINE: A Thousand Cuts

Rappler CEO/Journalist Maria Ressa
Courtesy of FRONTLINE (PBS)
Rappler CEO/Journalist Maria Ressa

Stream now or tune in Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

FRONTLINE presents the U.S. broadcast premiere of “A Thousand Cuts,” the 2020 Sundance Film Festival documentary about the crackdown on the press in the Philippines that The New York Times calls “absorbing” (Critic’s Pick), The Washington Post says is “utterly urgent” and The Hollywood Reporter describes as “essential.”

This 98-minute feature film from award-winning filmmaker Ramona Diaz examines President Rodrigo Duterte’s escalating attacks on the media through the story of his prime target: Journalist Maria Ressa, a TIME Magazine Person of the Year and CEO and co-founder of the independent news site, Rappler.

Ressa and her colleagues have been at the forefront of chronicling Duterte’s brutal war on drugs and she has endured harassment, arrests, and a cyber libel conviction that could send her to prison.


“What we’re seeing is a death by a thousand cuts of our democracy…little cuts to the body of Philippines democracy,” Ressa says in the documentary of Duterte’s efforts to quash independent reporting. “When you have enough of these cuts, you are so weakened, that you will die.” But she vows to press on: “We will not duck, we will not hide. We will hold the line.”

FRONTLINE’s broadcast comes on the heels of the documentary’s robust festival run — including Sundance Film Festival, SXSW Film Festival and AFI DOCS — and a nation-wide virtual theatrical release last summer.

“At its core, ‘A Thousand Cuts’ is about the epic battle for facts. ‘What do you do when the president lies,’ Maria poses in the film. With its unparalleled reputation for cutting through the noise and getting to what is true, I couldn’t have hoped for a better partner than FRONTLINE to bring this story to a national audience,” says Diaz.


The film is now available to stream in the PBS Video App and on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel.

For more on Duterte’s drug war:

Watch FRONTLINE "On the President’s Orders." And for more from Ressa, read FRONTLINE’s interview with her for "The Facebook Dilemma," in which she discusses her reporting on how Duterte weaponized the platform to target his critics and spread disinformation.

Join The Conversation:

FRONTLINE is on Facebook, Instagram, tumblr, and you can follow @frontlinepbs on Twitter. #frontlinePBS

"A Thousand Cuts" film is on Facebook and Instagram.


Concordia Studio, Motto Pictures, and CineDiaz production developed in association with Topic for WGBH/FRONTLINE. The executive producers are Laurene Powell Jobs, Davis Guggenheim, Jonathan Silberberg, Nicole Stott, Raney Aronson-Rath, David J. Cornfield, Linda A. Cornfield. Edited by Leah Marino. The producers are Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, and Carolyn Hepburn. Produced by Ramona S. Diaz and Leah Marino. Written and directed by Ramona S. Diaz.

“We are so pleased to be able to share Maria’s story and Ramona’s incredible filmmaking with our PBS audiences this month, and to offer context through a powerful conversation with Christiane,” says FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath.

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