The Act of Killing receives two awards at the Berlinale / by Mauricio Gonzalez-Aranda

Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary The Act of Killing that screened at this years Berlinale in the Panorama section, has won the Audience Award as well as the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. 

The Audience Award will be given out at a ceremony on Sunday February 17, followed by an extra screening of the film.

The Prize of the Ecumenical Jury was awarded Saturday February 16 at an awards ceremony for the Independent Juries of the festival, and according to the Berlinale website the prize goes to "directors who have succeeded in portraying actions or human experiences that are in keeping with the Gospels, or in sensitising viewers to spiritual, human or social values."

The jury praised the film for the present-day value it brought to an historical event and continued to say that "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". 

Here follows the acceptance speech for the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, by director Joshua Oppenheimer:
"The perpetrators we filmed in Indonesia destroyed other human beings for money and for power. This greed, unfortunately, is all too human. After killing people, the perpetrators felt trauma, even remorse. This, too, is human. And so they needed excuses, propaganda, so that they could live with themselves, so that they could kill again, and then go on to build a regime on the basis of terror, lies, and the celebration of mass murder. 

The new dictatorship quickly obliged, making up lies to rationalize what they had done. Through these lies emerged a distorted morality to justify evil, even to celebrate it. 

Among the most effective of these lies is that the victims were atheists, and that non-believers have no place among the living. The killers themselves know that their victims were not atheists. And we know that it does not matter. But in Indonesia, atheism is still equated with evil. And this remains a pillar in the justification of genocide.
THE ACT OF KILLING has been accused of being a film by and for atheists.

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. Necessarily, the distorted morality, in which the victims are represented as "evil" atheists, is starting to crumble. 

We thank the Ecumenical Jury for this prize: it is an important contribution to our effort to break the silence. In itself, this award exposes lies that have, for so long, been used to justify crimes against humanity, to stigmatize survivors, to keep people afraid. Your decision to give this award to
THE ACT OF KILLING confirms that when religion is used as a justification for crimes against humanity, it has lost its moral foundation. 

We thank you. Indonesia thanks you.

Click here to read the press release about the Panorama Audience Award

Click here to read the full list of awards from the Independent Juries