Danish documentary about Indonesia wins ‘Little Oscar’

Look of silence awards
Director Joshua Oppenheimer and producer Signe Byrge Sørensen with their award

The Danish film “Look of Silence” wins Independent Spirit Award in Hollywood on 27 February 2016. The movie was also nominated for “the real” Oscar, but the people behind the movie are indeed satisfied with their Spirit Award, which is handed over the night before Oscar night. The award has gotten its nickname “Little Oscar”, since it is considered being the first-class honour prior to independent moviemakers.

The documentary movie is directed by Danish resident Joshua Oppenheimer and producer Signe Byrge, whom also was Oscar-nominated in 2014 for the Danish documentary movie “The Act of Killing”.

“Look of Silence” is a documentary about one of the many families who suffered from the genocide in Indonesia in 1965. An issue, which Joshua Oppenheimer believes has been kept as a taboo and that the documentary can help make a change.

“The Indonesian genocide began 50 years ago today, but in a terrible, important way it hasn’t ended, because the perpetrators are still in power, and millions of survivors still live in fear. Nevertheless, I’m deeply honored that our films, the act of killing in the look of silence, have led to a movement for truth, justice, and reconciliation in Indonesia where once there was silence – or even noisy celebration,” he says in his and adds

“Yet the silence in the title also refers to our silence. Because the Indonesian genocide is not just Indonesian history, but American history. The US provided weapons, money, and training to the death squads, and lists of thousands of names of public figures whom United States wanted killed. We in the us must do the same work as Indonesians. We must declassify the documents that reveal our role in these crimes, and take responsibility.

We are so honored by the support of the independent film community, because your recognition of our work helps us use the film to make real change.”

After the Oscar night on 28 February, Joshua Oppenheiner will personally be traveling with Indonesia’s national human rights commision to Washington, D. C.m to meet with White House Staff and urge the American government to declassify the documents and acknowledge its role in these crimes. 

While the movie has been praised in the West, the opposite has happened in the East. Because of the movie, Joshua Oppenheimer and his film crew has received death threaths from Indonesian establisment and are no longer welcome to travel to the country. On the other hand, Indonesian people consider the main character as a folk hero.

The director knew risks would be in the wake of the movie premiere, but he never doubted to tell the story in “Look of Silence” about Indonesian Adi and his family. Adi has not received any death threaths, but has been forced to move after the movie was out.

“I was scared when we made the movie. I think it was natural to feel that way. But I did it anyway, because I don’t want the Indonesian people to be scared anymore,” Adi says.

Everyone from “Look of Silence” were very honoured to receive the ‘Little Oscar’.

Sources: www.dr.dk, www.nordjyske.dk, www.indiewire.com



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