Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer (pictured) is among 21 recipients of this year’s MacArthur Fellows ‘genius’ grants.
The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence director will receive a no-strings-attached stipend of US$625,000 to be paid out over five years. The grants are given out by The MacArthur Foundation to allow recipients the “maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.”
The ‘genius’ award is the latest in a string of good-news stories for the American director, who was nominated for an Oscar in the documentary feature category earlier this year for The Act of Killing. The film followed perpetrators of mass killings in Indonesia as they re-enacted the atrocities as part of a staged a Hollywood-like film shoot.
Oppenheimer’s follow-up to that film, The Look of Silence, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 71st Venice Film Festival earlier this month and sold to distributors in France, Australia, Canada and Japan, following its Canadian premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It has also been picked up in the UK by Dogwoof.
A companion film to The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence is about an Indonesian man who confronts those responsible for killing his brother during Indonesia’s anti-communist purge of 1965-66, which followed a military-backed coup. It will screen next during the New York Film Festival on September 30.
Previous doc-makers to receive MacArthur genius grants include Laura Poitras and Natalie Almada.