Through Oppenheimer’s footage of perpetrators of the 1965 Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered, as well as the identities of the killers. The documentary focuses on the youngest son, an optometrist named Adi, who decides to break the suffocating spell of submission and terror by doing something unimaginable in a society where the murderers remain in power: he confronts the men who killed his brother and, while testing their eyesight, asks them to accept responsibility for their actions. This unprecedented film initiates and bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence.
- Errol Morris
The Act of Killing exposed the consequences for all of us when we build our everyday reality on terror and lies. The Look of Silence explores what it is like to be a survivor in such a reality. Making any film about survivors of genocide is to walk into a minefield of clichés, most of which serve to create a heroic (if not saintly) protagonist with whom we can identify, thereby offering the false reassurance that, in the moral catastrophe of atrocity, we are nothing like perpetrators. But presenting survivors as saintly in order to reassure ourselves that we are good is to use survivors to deceive ourselves. It is an insult to survivors’ experience, and does nothing to help us understand what it means to survive atrocity, what it means to live a life shattered by mass violence, and to be silenced by terror. To navigate this minefield of clichés, we have had to explore silence itself.
The result, The Look of Silence, is, I hope, a poem about a silence borne of terror – a poem about the necessity of breaking that silence, but also about the trauma that comes when silence is broken. Maybe the film is a monument to silence – a reminder that although we want to move on, look away and think of other things, nothing will make whole what has been broken. Nothing will wake the dead. We must stop, acknowledge the lives destroyed, strain to listen to the silence that follows.
- Werner Herzog
Oscar®-nominated film director and recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” (2015-2019).
Oscar®-nominated producer and CEO at Final Cut for Real, which she founded with Anne Köhncke in 2009.
Due to the nature of this film it has unfortunately been necessary to credit this remarkable collaborator as Anonymous.
CEO of Spring Films Ltd of London and President of The Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain
Oscar®-nominated film director and considered one of the greatest figures of the New German Cinema.
Oscar®-winning film director and recipient of five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Born in 1974, USA, Oscar®-nominated film director Joshua Oppenheimer is recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” (2015-2019). His debut feature film, The Act of Killing (2012, 159 min and 117 min), was named Film of the Year in the 2013 by the Guardian and the Sight and Sound Film Poll, and won 72 international awards, including the European Film Award 2013, BAFTA 2014, Asia Pacific Screen Award 2013, Berlinale Audience Award 2013, and Guardian Film Award 2014 for Best Film. It was nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Documentary, and has been released theatrically in 31 countries. His second film, The Look of Silence (2014, 99 min), premiered In Competition at the 71st Venice Film Festival, where it won five awards including the Grand Jury Prize, the international critics award (FIPRESCI Prize) and the European film critics award (FEDEORA Prize). Since then, The Look of Silence has received the Danish Academy Award for Best Documentary and the prestigious Danish Arts Council Award. It screened at the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival (Best World Documentary), the Copenhagen Documentary Festival (Grand Prize), Festival d’Angers (Audience Award for Best Film), and the Berlin Film Festival (Peace Film Prize). Oppenheimer is a partner at Final Cut for Real in Denmark, and Artistic Director of the Centre for Documentary and Experimental Film at the University of Westminster in London.
– The Act of Killing (159 min, 117 min, 95 min – winner of 72 international awards, including the European Film Award 2013, BAFTA 2014, Asia Pacific Screen Award 2013, Berlinale Panorama Audience Award 2013, Guardian Film Award 2014 for Best Film; nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Documentary; released theatrically in 30 countries; screened in countless film festivals, including the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, and Berlin International Film Festival.
– The Globalisation Tapes (documentary, produced with Christine Cynn,2003)
– The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase (50 min, 1997; Gold Hugo, Chicago, 1998; Telluride Film Festival, 1997)
– These Places We Learned to Call Home (short, 1997; Gold Spire, San Francisco, 1997)
Signe Byrge Sørensen is CEO and producer at Final Cut for Real, which she founded with Anne Köhncke in 2009. Signe Byrge Sørensen has a master degree in International Development Studies and Communication Studies, RUC, (1998). She did EURODOC in 2003 and EAVE in 2010. Signe has produced documentaries since 1998, first at SPOR Media (1998-2004), then at Final Cut Productions (2004-2008), and then she founded Final Cut for Real in 2009. Amongst the films Signe has produced are The Look of Silence (2014), by Joshua Oppenheimer, Last Dreams (2013), by Estephan Wagner, The Act of Killing (2012), by Joshua Oppenheimer (Cph Dox Award, BAFTA, Asia-Pacific Film Award, European Film Award and 2014 Oscar nomination plus ca. 60 other awards); The Human Scale, (2012), by Andreas Dalsgaard, The Kid and the Clown (2011), by Ida Grøn and Football is God (2010), by Ole Bendtzen. Signe has also produced and co-directed (with Janus Billeskov Jansen) Voices of the World (2005) and The Importance of Being Mlabri (2007), and in 2008 she post-produced the fiction feature Everlasting Moments by Jan Troell. Her most recent co-productions are: Night will Fall (2014), by André Singer, The Pirate Bay – Away from Keyboard, by Simon Klose (2012), Gulabi Gang, (2011), By Nishtha Jain and Char – No Man’s Island, by Sourav Sarangi, (2012). The Final Cut for Real films are produced in collaboration with Anne Köhncke and the other producers at Final Cut for Real. Signe has also given lectures at for example EAVE, ESODOC, and Nordic Forum, and was the Danish co-producer for the first Steps for the future project in Southern Africa. Signe received the Danish documentary award, the Roos Award in 2014.
André was Editor of Granada Television’s Disappearing World series during the 1980's. He ran the BBC Documentary Department’s Independent Unit in the 1990’s where he founded the award-winning documentary strand Fine Cut (now Storyville). As an independent producer, he established Café Productions and later West Park Pictures (now a DCD Media owned company).
André is a Documentary Campus board member, and President of the Royal Anthropological Institute's Film Committee. He has been responsible for several hundred hours of factual programs for the international TV market and producer or executive producer of fourteen films with Werner Herzog since Lessons of Darkness in 1992.
Werner Herzog was born in Munich on September 5, 1942. He grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria and studied History and German Literature in Munich and Pittsburgh. He made his first film in 1961 at the age of 19. Since then he has produced, written, and directed more than sixty feature- and documentary films, such as Aguirre der Zorn Gottes (AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, 1972), Nosferatu Phantom der Nacht (NOSFERATU, 1978), FITZCARRALDO (1982), Lektionen in Finsternis (LESSONS OF DARKNESS, 1992), LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (1997), Mein liebster Feind (MY BEST FIEND, 1999), INVINCIBLE (2000), GRIZZLY MAN (2005), ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD (2007), Die Höhle der vergessenen Träume (CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, 2010). Werner Herzog has published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas. Werner Herzog lives in Munich and Los Angeles.
Roger Ebert has said, “After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven't found another filmmaker who intrigues me more…Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini.”
Morris’ films have won many awards, including an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, an Emmy, the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival, the Silver Bear at Berlin International Film Festival, the Golden Horse at the Taiwan International Film Festival and the Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America. His documentaries have repeatedly appeared on many ten best lists and have been honored by the National Society of Film Critics and the National Board of Review. His work has been the subject of a full retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1999. Roger Ebert, in fact, has placed Morris’ first feature Gates of Heaven on his list of the 10 Best Films of All Time.
In his latest film, The Unknown Known (April 4, 2014), Morris explores the long political history and the worldview of Donald Rumsfeld, as the two-time former secretary of defense himself describes it. Through dozens of hours of interview footage and thousands of Rumsfeld's memos (many of which have never before been released), Morris puts on display the dizzying, Carrollian illogic used by members of the Bush administration to justify war in Iraq.
Morris's latest book, A Wilderness of Error: The Trial of Jeffrey MacDonald was released September, 2012 (Paperback: January, 2014). A New York Times bestseller, the book examines the nature of evidence and proof in the notorious MacDonald murders. His previous book, Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography, was also a New York Times bestseller and a New York Times notable book of 2011.
Morris has directed over 1000 television commercials, including campaigns for Apple, Citibank, Cisco Systems, Intel, American Express, Nike, Target, General Motors, Levis and Miller High Life. Morris also directed short films for the 2002 and 2007 Academy Awards as well as for charitable and political organizations such as Stand Up to Cancer and Moveon.org. In 2011 he directed They Were There, a film to commemorate IBM’s Centennial. In 2000-2001, Morris directed two seasons of the television series, First Person.
Morris has received five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2007, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a graduate student at Princeton University and the University of California-Berkeley.
Signe Byrge Sørensen
Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, André Singer
Anne Köhncke, Maria Kristensen, Heidi Elise Christensen, Joram Ten Brink
Anonymous, Kaarle Aho, Torstein Grude, Bjarte Mørner Tveit
Director of Photography Lars Skree
Anonymous, Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn
Niels Pagh Andersen
Sound Editor and Mix
Maria Kristensen, Heidi Elise Christensen, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous
Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous
Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous
Indonesian Research and Outreach
Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous
Post Production Managers
Maria Kristensen, Lina Wichmann
Post Production Services
Hinterland AS, Duckling, Nordisk Film Shortcut, Dicentia Studios
Colorist and Visual Effects
Tom Chr. Lilletvedt, Assistant Colourist, Joakim Hauge
Nordisk Film Shortcut
Office Manager (Norway)
NR2154, Motion Graphics Artist, Emil Thorbjørnsson
Katrine Schlüther Schierbeck, Else Helland
Korthe Barfod, Vassdal & Eriksen AS, Christian Eide, Hanna Pärkkä
Tore Kristian Tjemsland, Pauli Aaltonen, Beierholm, Jan Arildslund and Morten Staghøj
Jens-Georg Hansen, Lyberg & Partnere
Courtesy of NBC Universal Archives
Seri Banang (traditional)
Mana Tahan (traditional)
Composer: E. Sambayon
Lyrics: Sakti Alamsyah
Performed by Sam Saimun
Courtesy of Irama Record
Rege Rege (traditional)
Dansk Videotekst, Shusaku Harada
Very Special Thanks
Taman ’65, Sharad Agrawal, Benedict Anderson, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Sumyi Khong Antonson, Michael Arnon, Haris Azhar, Ori Bader, Orlando Bagwell, Aaron Balick, Charlotte Munch Bengtsen, Evan Berland, Heather Berland, Russell Berland, Sarah Berland, Dola Bonfils, Theodore Braun, Tom Brookes, Carmel Budiardjo, Manneke Budiman, Brady Case, Christina Chelsia Chan, Carol Chase, Elliot Chase, Stephen Chase, Angel Cheng, Charlie Clements, Catherine Corman, Christine Cynn, David Cynn, Jhin Cynn, Won Cynn, Mark Danner, Lucy Davis, Laurin Dietrich, Nia Dinata, Tony Dowmunt, Edwin, Gareth Evans. Hilmar Farid, Catherine Feinen, Charles Ferguson, Sidsel Filipsen, Beadie Finzi, Tine Fischer, Forum Buruh Lintas Pabrik , Kim Foss, Maxyne Franklin, Anna Godas, Amy Goodman, Peter Goodwin, Maja Giese, Aaron Glimme, Lotte Grauballe, Alfred Guzzetti, Usman Hamid, Taufiq Hanafi, Sidsel Hansen, Shouichi Harada, Shusaku Harada, Toyomi Harada, Oli Harbottle, Muhammad Harits, Andreas Harsono, Brittani Head, Georgia Leigh Hearn, Monica Hellström, Hendrayana, Olivia Herman, Ariel Heryanto, Lena Herzog, Lone Hey, Papang Hidayat, Annette Hill, Telse Hübertz, Evan Husney, Felencia Hutabarat, Adin Hysteria, Arine Kirstein Høgel, Jakob Kirstein Høgel, Maman Imanulhaq, May Adadol Ingawanij, Jemi Irwansyah, Janus Billeskov Jansen, Raharja Waluya Jati, Lars Johansson, Søren Henrik Jørgensen, Simon Kilmurry, Claire Kessie, Laura Kim, Elinor Kowarsky, Anne Marie Kurstein, Nurlaela Lamasitudju, Max Lane, Nikolai Lang, Katrine Larney, Brith Larsen, Tim League, Liga Mahasiswa Untuk Demokrasi, Todung Mulya Lubis, Lena Lundt, Irene Lusztig, Olga Lydia, Elise McCave, Bojana Makavejev, Dusan Makavejev, Valentin Manz, Soe Tjen Marching, Faiza Mardzoeki, James Marsh, Marsinha FM, Richard Melman, Josephine Michau, Aase Mikkelsen, Jodi Miller, Robb Moss, Elisabeth Ida Mulyani, Suciwati Munir, Nobodycopr, International Unlimited, Susan Norget, Bitang Nusantara, David Nuzum, Dede Oetomo, Barbara Oppenheimer, Carol Oppenheimer, Joe Oppenheimer, Sarah Oppenheimer, Mikael Opstrup, Edwin Partogi Pasaribu, Tunggal Pawestri, Geoff Petts, Iwan Meulia, Yosep Adi Prasetyo, Pirous, R. Puspitasari, Karen Ranucci, Ene Katrine Rasmussen, Marlene Schiött Rasmussen, Ayu Ratih, Michael Ratner, B. Ruby Rich, Benoit, Roland, Andrea Romeo, John Roosa, Satyajit Sakar, Sanna Salmenkallio, Omer Sami, Jess Search, Peter Sellars, Steve Pillar Setiabudi, Arash Setoodeh, Noga Shalev, James Shapiro, John Sidel, Adinda Simandjuntak, Morton Simon, Samuel Simon, Bradley Simpson, Ronen Skaletzky, Stephen Smith, Arief Adityawan Sosrojudho, Gordon Spragg, Gabby Stein, Thomas Stenderup, Budiman Sudjatmiko, Stephen Suleeman, Hasto Atmojo Suroyo, Per Byrge Sørensen, Ida Byrge Sørensen, Søren Tarp, Meiske Taurisia, Rosie Thomas, Sheila Timothy, Toko Buku Buruh Membaca, Dian Septi Trisnanti, Bilven Ultimus, Bedjo Untung, Ayu Utami, Michael Uwemedimo, Baskara T. Wardaya, Diane Wyermann, Sandra Whipham, Andy Whittaker, Jeffrey Winters, Philip Yampolsky, Andrea Zimmerman, Daniel Ziv, Slavoj Zizek, Arief Zulkifli, Slavoj Zizek.
Developed with support of
The Danish Film Institute
Produced with the support of
Danish Film Institute – Film Commissioner Helle Hansen
Nordisk Film & TV Fond – Film consultant Karolina Lidin
The Finnish Film Foundation – Film Commissioner Elina Kivihalme
The Freedom of Expression Foundation
Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster
Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK
Produced in collaboration with
ZDF in collaboration with ARTE – Sabine Bubeck-Paaz
DR K – Flemming Hedegaard Larsen
NRK – Tore Tomter
YLE – Iikka Vehkalahti
VPRO – Nathalie Windhorst
Vision Machine Film Project
Final Cut for Real ApS
Making Movies Oy
In association with
Spring Films Ltd
International Sales Agent
Cinephil – Philippa Kowarsky
Danish Film Institute
- Tim Roth
Grand Jury Prize - Venice Film Festival 2014
Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) - Best Film of Venice Film Festival 2014
European Critics Prize (FEDEORA) - Best European and Mediterranean Film of Venice Film Festival 2014
Online Critics Prize (Mouse d’Oro) - Best Film of Venice Film Festival 2014
Human Rights Nights Award - Venice Film Festival 2014
Danish Academy Award for Best Documentary (Robert Prize) - 2015
Danish Film Critics Association Prize for Best Documentary (Bodil Prize) - 2015
Peace Film Prize - Berlin Film Festival 2015
Best World Documentary (Cinephile Prize) - Busan International Film Festival 2014
Audience Award - Best Film, Festival Favorites - SXSW Film Festival 2015
Dragon Award Best Documentary - Gothenburg International Film Festival 2015
Audience Award - Best Film - Festival d'Angers 2015
Audience Award - Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015
Grand Prize (DOX Award) - CPH:DOX 2014
Aung San Suu Kyi Award - Burma Human Rights Human Dignity Film Festival 2015
Prize of the Danish Arts Council - 2014
True Life Award - True/False Film Festival 2015
Audience Award - Documenta Madrid 2015
Audience Award - Docs Barcelona 2015
Amnesty International Award - Docs Barcelona 2015
Grand Prix - Festival de Cinéma Valenciennes 2015
Prix de la Critique - Festival de Cinéma Valenciennes 2015
Prix Étudiants - Festival de Cinéma Valenciennes 2015
Best Documentary - Sofia International Film Festival 2015
Best Film - Prague One World Film Festival 2015
Audience Award - Movies That Matter Festival 2015
Best Documentary - Denver Film Festival 2014
Best Documentary - Victoria Film Festival 2015
Best Director (Baltic Gaze) - Vilnius International Film Festival 2015
Amnesty International Award - Docs Against Gravity - Warsaw 2015
Wild Dreamer Award - Subversive Film Festival 2015
Special Jury Prize - NordicDocs 2015
Best Director (Documentary) - River Run Film Festival 2015
Don Quixote Prize - Tromsø International Film Festival 2015
Best Film - Cine de Derechos Humanos - Uruguay International Film Festival 2015
Best Documentary - Calgary Underground Film Festival 2015