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Act of Killing Joshua Oppenheimer Interview

The Act of Killing nominated for Academy Award

Documentary from the AHRC-funded Genocide and Genre project wins global recognition

It was announced today by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts in Los Angeles that the film The Act of Killing has been nominated for an 'Oscar' in the Best Documentary category.

The film, part of the AHRC-funded Genocide and Genre research project at the University of Westminster, explores the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s, telling the story of a group of former members of Indonesian death squads being challenged to revisit and re-enact their earlier crimes.

The film focuses particularly on one individual, Anwar Congo, whose initial enthusiasm for the re-enactments slowly gives way to outward expressions of unease and remorse. The film was supported by a large research grant from the AHRC.

To mark the occasion, the AHRC has launched a short film of an interview with the film's director Joshua Oppenheimer. Speaking in the film about the many awards and nominations received by The Act of Killing, the director says: "It's wonderful in two ways. When a film is difficult and has been made in a fundamentally different way and actually breaks through and gets mainstream acceptance, that opens a space for more adventurous, more intelligent, more experimental work. It opens a way for film-makers to stand on the shoulders of the The Act of Killing and to try new things.

"The awards are [also] a sign of the willingness of audiences to say, this is about all of us. This is not a case study of the depths of depravity that human beings are capable of on the other side of the world... This is a mirror to all human beings about the nature of impunity, about how we live with guilt, about how we create our world through storytelling."

This nomination follows two BAFTA nominations announced last week for Best Film Not in the English Language and Best Documentary. The Academy Award winners will be announced at a ceremony on March 2nd.

Publish date Runtime
16/01/2014 10.00