The Act of Killing
Director and Co-Producer: Joshua Oppenheimer
Producer: Sygne Byrge Sørensen
Key Funder: Anonymous
The filmmakers write:
“We could not have done this without our outreach funder. We do not have money for this kind of outreach, and we would never be able to raise that kind of money out of a film budget. But please note that our main outreach funder does not want to be publicly acknowledged for their support because they are worried about problems this could cause for their staff and other activities in Indonesia.”
BRITDOC Impact Report
Read more about the film’s outreach campaign in the full BRITDOC case study, which observes:
“In a country where killers are celebrated as heroes, the filmmakers challenge unrepentant death squad leader Anwar Congo and his friends to dramatise their role in the Indonesian genocide. But their idea of being in a movie is not to provide testimony for a documentary: they want to be stars in their favourite film genres — gangster, western, musical. They write the scripts. They play themselves. And they play their victims. The hallucinatory result is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit.
The Act of Killing is a rare example of a film that both works to expose a political injustice and has also been lauded for its cinematic inventiveness. This critical acclaim has given the 1965 Indonesian genocide a new audience both inside and outside the country. The goals are ambitious and the team are clear that the film itself can only hope to contribute to larger conversations that might make an apology, or truth and reconciliation commission possible. However it is already — in a few short months — changing Indonesians’ understanding of their recent history.
Since release, the film made over $480,000 domestically at box office, and over £120,000 in the UK, and continues to roll out in 23 territories including Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.