EXCLUSIVE: Joshua Oppenheimer’s award-winning The Act of Killing garnered wide acclaim and the year’s best nonfiction debut this summer. But the filmmakers believe the docu, in which ex-death squad leaders of the 1965-1966 Indonesian genocide reenact their own atrocities for the camera, can’t have a traditional release in the country where said mass murderers are still celebrated as national heroes. So the film’s most significant release will come in September when Drafthouse Films, VICE, and VHX open the pic in Indonesia – for free.
The 1965 genocide that killed an estimated 500K to 1 million accused leftists, intellectuals, and ethnic Chinese is rarely talked about in the country and isn’t taught in history books. It’s so sensitive within Indonesia that the 60+ Indonesian crew members on The Act Of Killing are credited as “Anonymous” for fear of retribution. Filmmakers fear that, if submitted to the government-run film board, the docu would likely be banned and subsequent screenings would invite violent attacks by paramilitary groups. Instead, Drafthouse, VICE, Signe Byrge Sørensen’s Final Cut for Real ApS, and VHX will release Act of Killing within Indonesia on September 30 via www.actofkilling.com, where local viewers can download the 159-minute directors cut for free from a site exclusively geo-blocked for Indonesia. (more…)