SAN FERNANDO CITY –“The greatest strength of the documentary film is the narration of the sheer honesty and indigenous intelligence of the Bontok Igorot culture-bearers as they pass to us, in their own way, their precious oral tradition,” Lester Valle, the director of “Walang Rape sa Bontok” said.

The film, from the Habi Media Collective, was awarded the Best Documentary at the 2015 Gawad Urian Awards. Screening in this city began on December 1 and ends today.

“We became humble stewards of their culture, that will hopefully be passed on to the coming generations, through our film,” Valle added.

The screening of the film here is part of the city government’s annual observance of the campaign to end Violence Against Women, from November 25 to December 12.

“Walang Rape sa Bontok” is a documentary that follows the investigation made by two Filipina victims of sexual abuse on the truth behind the research findings of an anthropologist, Dr. June Prill-Brett, that the Bontok tribe, generations ago, lived in a rape-less society.

“For rape survivors like me, I want to send the message that we need to speak up and get involved on this gender-cultural issue,“ film writer Carla Samantha Pulido Ocampo said.

She described the country’s rape laws as weak in enforcement and need more teeth.

The documentary has gained national and international recognition. Last June, it was was given a special citation for the GADtimpala for Media Award from the GAD – Gender Equality Committee for Media for propagating gender fairness through its medium.

The film, based on solid research, depicts a gender-free society and advocates gender rights and equality and has received a number of positive reviews and requests for screening in the country and abroad.

Those who watched the film described it as good in cinematography and screenplay, and moving as it was powerful.

Mayor Pablo C. Ortega gave the initial proceeds from the screening to the following: P30,000 each to the La Union Special School for Culture and Arts based in Santol, La Union and the Barangay Health and Wellness Volunteers Federation; and P40,000 to the Habi Collective Media. Joanna D. Sabado/PIA