Aung San Suu Kyi Award for The Act of Killing / by Mauricio Gonzalez-Aranda

We are immensely happy and proud that The Act of Killing has received the Aung San Suu Kyi Award for Best Documentary Film at the Human Rights, Human Dignity Film Festival in Myanmar.

The festival's core mission is to promote human rights awareness in Burma/Myanmar by using the power of film, the persuasive strength of audiovisual communication and to create a space for encouraging human rights discussions amongst the general public in Burma/Myanmar. 

The award was received by Daniel Pye on behalf of Joshua Oppenheimer.

The jury gave the following statement: 

"The Jury recognizes a cinematic masterwork, filled with multiple levels of humour, panache, outrageous flair and style, theatrics and cinematics. It is a film with a serious intent which touches on a raw nerve in the country where it was made, but has also helped begin a national dialogue in that society. In 1965, the Indonesian army took power by force. Gangsters in the local underworld, death squads and regime representatives murdered more than a million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese and intellectuals. Remarkably, the filmmakers were able to work collaboratively with some of these perpetrators, mass murderers and former unit leaders to make this remarkable film, to document and re-enact those crimes. They transpose these into theatrical and fictional forms. The goal is to begin a dialogue on the precarious road to reconciliation. They process guilt through the lens of personal and social responsibility. The perpetrators undergo a form of catharsis and repentance.

The film mixes elements of documentary, bombastic re-creations, spectacle, satire, movie clichés, extravaganza, and irony. It is achieved with the highest standards of cinematic storytelling. It is a film which is not only critical of brutal actions in the past, but also examines the resonance of those actions on Indonesian society today, by exposing current forces and organizations which would easily threaten to mobilize and recruit people to support similar super-nationalist, ex-judicial and militarist thinking. In that way, the film is both a reflection and a warning.

The International Jury gives the first Aung San Suu Kyi Award to a Danish, Norwegian and British coproduction, the feature-length documentary