Assured editor Tara Illenberger makes the leap to the director's chair with this impassioned plea for environmental protection and basic rights for displaced indigenous communities presented under the guise of an innocent adolescent romance. Recruited by unlicensed loggers to haul lumber through the forests and carry it by water to far away destinations, the struggling laborers known as "Brutus" - many of whom are merely juveniles - are forced to move away from their native land and go to work for the very same people responsible for destroying their communities. One such worker is Adag (Timothy Mabalot), a resourceful thirteen year old in need of medicine for his ailing brother. Payang (Rhea Medina) is just about the same age as Adag. She, too, has gone to work hauling lumber, less for the money than in hopes of tracking down her missing brother, who left to work as a "Brutus" and never came home. The village Adag and Payang come from is impoverished, and ravaged by disease. Informed that there are buyers for their wood four days downriver, the pair sets sail and gets off to a solid start. That changes, however, when Adag becomes overconfident and crashes the raft. Now stranded in the jungle, they attempt to navigate their way to safety as Adag does his best to make up for getting them in the mess in the first place. Later, as the pair cross paths with an army unit searching for a doctor who has joined up with the New People's Army, a close bond begins to develop between them as they learn the bitter truth about corruption and land degradation in the region.
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'"God & Country' looks at the implications of Christian Nationalism and how it distorts not only our constitutional republic, but Christianity itself...[it also] asks this question: What happens when a faith built on love, sacrifice, and forgiveness grows political tentacles, conflating power, money, and belief into hyper-nationalism?"
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