Orientalism and the Filipino Documentary: A Textual Analysis of I-Witness Documentaries on Filipino Indigenous Peoples

Alegre, B.U. (2015). Orientalism and the Filipino Documentary: A Textual Analysis of I-Witness documentaries on Filipino Indigenous Peoples, Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines Diliman College of Mass Communication

This study examined how Filipino documentaries employ Orientalist ideals when representing the Philippines’ varied Indigenous groups. This was explored by analyzing the documentaries produced by I-Witness using textual analysis. I-Witness was selected because of its mainstream appeal and popularity. Edward Said’s Orientalism served as the framework of this study with the assumption that Filipino-produced documentaries on Indigenous Peoples are laden with Orientalist elements.

16 I-Witness documentaries on Indigenous Peoples, which aired in 2010 to 2014, were analyzed. The researcher looked into the audio and video elements in order to discover how Orientalism was employed in the portrayal of Indigenous lives and culture and whether the perspective has changed in the aforementioned 5-year period. The study concluded that I-Witness documentaries do take on an Orientalist perspective in featuring Indigenous Peoples. In addition, the documentarians served as the center of the documentaries, focusing on their personal experience vis-à-vis the Indigenous Peoples experiences. Further, the perspective of I-Witness did not change between 2010 and 2014.

It is recommended to look into how Orientalism is employed in other media texts in the Philippines including other documentary programs and even entertainment programs such as telenovelas, magazine format shows, as well as advertisements.

KEYWORDS: documentary, representation, orientalism, postcolonialism, indigenous, I-Witness

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