Venice ’14: Drafthouse, Participant nab “The Look of Silence”

Ahead of its world premiere in Venice, Drafthouse Films and Participant Media have acquired all U.S. rights to The Look of Silence (pictured), Joshua Oppenheimer's follow-up to The Act of Killing.
August 27, 2014

Ahead of its world premiere in Venice today (August 27), Drafthouse Films and Participant Media have acquired all U.S. rights to The Look of Silence (pictured), Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up to his Oscar-nominated doc The Act of Killing.

The news comes as Oppenheimer has secured noted documentarians Werner Herzog and Errol Morris to serve as EPs on the new film. The pair previously lent their names to The Act of Killing as exec producers.

After examining Indonesian genocide from the perpetrator’s point of view in Killing, Oppenheimer uses Silence to examine the legacy of those murders from the victim’s point of view, following one man on his search for the truth as he confronts his brother’s killers.

With the high acclaim that Killing received from both critics and audiences, Silence has become one of the most-buzzed docs on the fall circuit.

After premiering in Venice this week, the film will continue its festival run at TIFF in Toronto and at the New York Film Festival, with a U.S. premiere at Telluride also likely. It will have a theatrical release Stateside in 2015, in a move that will qualify it for consideration for the 2016 Academy Awards.

“When I watched The Act of Killing, I thought I might not ever see another documentary quite as powerful,” said Drafthouse Films founder Tim League in a statement. “Joshua Oppenheimer’s stunning new film, The Look of Silence, is resounding proof that I was wrong.”

The deal was negotiated by Cinephil’s Philippa Kowarsky for Signe Byrge Sorensen and Final Cut For Real, by James Emanuel Shapiro for Drafthouse Films, and by Jeff Ivers for Participant.

Diane Weyermann, exec VP of documentary films at Participant Media, said: “The Look of Silence is a haunting story about a people who were written out of the history books, and Participant is proud to work with Joshua and Drafthouse to bring their story to American audiences.”

Oppenheimer added: “Reuniting with the passionate, resourceful, and tireless team who worked with us on The Act of Killing is a dream. We are thrilled to be back with old friends and deeply grateful to Errol and Werner.”

Drafthouse previously Cinephil will handle further international sales for the doc.

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.