HOT TAKE: A Thousand Cuts

What SOU Digital Cinema Instructor Chris Lucas is Watching This Summer

A tense film about a Filipina journalist running an independent news operation in the Philippines, A Thousand Cuts shows Maria Ressa confronting the increasingly authoritarian tactics of the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte.

According to Digital Cinema instructor Chris Lucas, A Thousand Cuts illustrates the political stakes of strong journalism, serves as a practical example of cinematic editing, and deploys an innovative distribution model that can inform student practice at Southern Oregon University.

“The film becomes a great case study on some of my favorite subjects: the power of media communication as a tool to hold onto power, how we can use media to confront power, and the courage needed to be a journalistic truth-teller,” said Lucas.

“Ressa comes under huge legal pressures, finds herself attacked through social media, mocked and memed, subjected to physical threats and menacing behavior from Duterte’s supporters, and eventually arrested.”

Lucas moved to Southern Oregon from Texas, where he had a strong partnership with A Thousand Cuts editor and producer Leah Marino. She edited his 2014 documentary Above All Else.

“Great documentaries require great editors,” Lucas added. “As I watched A Thousand Cuts, I saw some trademark Leah editing — a skillful narrative weave that ties together several emotional storylines, seamlessly, while also giving us all kinds of interesting background about politics in the Philippines. Her edit shows great narrative economy, finding memorable details that communicate a lot about this world and the people, visually and sometimes with great irony.”

Usually, a film like A Thousand Cuts would be having a lot of festival screenings and theatrical runs in major markets following its January debut at the Sundance Film Festival, according to Lucas. Due to COVID-19, though, they are using a new model that many filmmakers are turning to: a limited-time video-on-demand run.

“I think this is going to be a wave of the future for indie film,” Lucas said.

Check out A Thousand Cuts right now on the Eventive platform:

While we are getting ready for a Fall term unlike any other, Communication and Digital Cinema faculty at Southern Oregon University are sharing weekly Hot Takes of things we are reading, watching and doing that get us excited to get back in the (virtual) classroom. Stay connected with whatever got you to this post, and we’ll look forward to bringing you more communications about Communication soon.



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Comm, Media & Cinema @ Southern Oregon University

Comm, Media & Cinema @ Southern Oregon University

Earn BA/BS Degrees and Certificates in Communication Studies, Social Media & Public Engagement, or Digital Cinema @SOUAshland. #ThatIsSOU