Prof Joshua Oppenheimer

Two-time Academy Award nominee Joshua Oppenheimer’s work has redefined the possibilities of documentary cinema. His debut feature film, The Act of Killing (2014 Oscar® Nominee for Best Documentary), was named Film of the Year in 2013 by the Guardian and the Sight and Sound Film Poll, and won 72 awards, including a European Film Award, a BAFTA, an Asia Pacific Screen Award, a Berlinale Audience Award, and the Guardian Film Award for Best Film. His second film, The Look of Silence (2016 Oscar® Nominee for Best Documentary), premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it won five awards, including the Grand Jury Prize. Since then, The Look of Silence has received 72 awards, including an Independent Spirit Award and a Gotham Award. The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence have helped transform Indonesia’s understanding of the most important event in its modern history - the 1965-66 genocide - inspiring a movement for truth, reconciliation and justice. Beyond Indonesia, public discussion around the films prompted the US government to declassify 30,000 previously secret files detailing America’s complicity in the massacres. Cinema Eye Honors named Joshua Oppenheimer a decade-defining filmmaker in 2016, and both his films as decade-defining films. In 2014, Oppenheimer was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. Joshua Oppenheimer was the 2017 Guest Director of the Telluride Film Festival, 2017 Tribute at the Sarajevo Festival Festival, centerpiece of The Act of Killing retrospective at 2016 San Sebastian Film Festival, winner of the City of Cologne’s 2016 Phoenix Prize, and served on the jury of the 2016 Venice Film Festival. Joshua Oppenheimer is Principal Investigator on the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Documentary of the Imagination research project. 

The documentary of the imagination. Experimental methods in nonfiction cinema. Self-staging in nonfiction cinema. New forms of narrative filmmaking. The performance and remembrance of mass violence. The implication of genre in the performance of violence. The 1965-66 Indonesian genocide. Storytelling as instrument of terror.

  • Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media