Doc Act of Killing Celebrates Oscar Nom With Theatrical Re-Release

Posted 3:33 PM January 16th, 2014 by Sara Vizcarrondo
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Film distributor Drafthouse Films wasted no time responding to the Oscar nomination for documentary The Act of Killing with a re-release of the film in theaters, reported a press release.

Director Joshua Oppenheimer’s doc uses a retired killer from Indonesia’s period of political cleansing (1965-66) to analyze the nation’s culture of fear. Oppenheimer’s statement following nomination expressed gratitude and shared the honor with " the survivors and victims” of the silent murder spree the film’s protagonist helped perpetrate 50 years ago. He explains the success “is a crucial first step in their country's acknowledgement of a moral catastrophe - the horror of the genocide and the on-going regime of fear and corruption built by the killers. May it also be a first step toward healing."

Drafthouse CEO Tim League calls the film a “landmark release for us,” continuing “we are honored to have the Academy recognize this truly one-of-a-kind achievement in the documentary form. We are also gratified to be associated with a film that has already sparked important change in Indonesia."

Documentary all-stars Werner Herzog and Errol Morris were so impressed with Oppenheimer’s footage they signed on as executive producers before Drafthouse’s impressive distributions stategy had gone into motion. Though the film is already available on DVD/Blu-ray and various digital platforms (including iTunes, Amazon Instant, Netflix), Act of Killing saw a very successful US release in July and made the film free in Indonesia to raise awareness about the mass killings Indonesia’s mainstream media has long celebrated as a victory against communism.

The film is a singular accomplishment, with a 95% tomatometer rating and one of the most controversial plots this year in film. A nomination was a no-brainer but, with the controversies aroused by the film’s depiction of Indonesia’s celebrity murderers, a win is less than predictable.

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