The Danish documentary “The Act of Killing” have won the audience award for best documentary. The critically acclaimed documentary tells the story of the 1965 purges in Indonesia and is produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen from the Danish film company Final Cut for Real. The film, which is directed by American Joshua Oppenheimer, won the Panorama Audience Award and the Ecumenical Jury prize, the latter of which is awarded by a six-person jury to “directors who have succeeded in portraying actions or human experiences that are in keeping with the Gospels, or in sensitizing viewers to spiritual, human or social values.”
“This deeply unsettling film exposes the evil mass murders which took place in Indonesia in 1965 and reveals the monstrosity of these crimes. It re-opens a deep wound with the conviction that it is worthwhile to unearth such atrocities,” the jury said.
In “The Act of Killing,” the unpunished Medan-based men act out their state-sponsored crimes in a variety of film genres, describing their roles unapologetically, and with an honesty that the Indonesian government has not yet been willing to show. Estimates put the number of those killed in the purges at anywhere from 500,000 to two million people, at a tumultuous time in the country’s history.
In a statement, the Ecumenical Jury praised “The Act of Killing” for the present-day value it brought to an historical event.
“Since International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2012, ‘The Act of Killing’ has screened hundreds of times in Indonesia, in more than 90 cities. It has helped give rise to a national conversation in which, finally, the silence around the genocide has been broken, and Indonesians are openly discussing how today’s regime of corruption and fear is built on a mountain of corpses.