The Look of Silence will look at Indonesian death squads from victims’ perspective.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer is now busy in production on The Look of Silence, his follow-up to The Act of Killing.
While The Act of Killing followed the perpetrators from Indonesia’s death squads, the new film is about the victims.
The Look of Silence will be edited in May and post-production will be done in June and July, for a launch at autumn festivals.
The films will each stand on their own but will make strong companion pieces that show “the sum is bigger than the parts,” said producer Signe Byrge Sørensen of Copenhagen-based Final Cut For Real. “It has never been a secret that we wanted to do both perspectives. We just didn’t want them in the same film.”
“It’s not Anwar’s [the lead protagonist in the first film] victims but it’s a similar story,” she added. “I think the two films can work strongly together.”
As expected, the new film will be more straightforward without Hollywood-style re-enactments. “It’s not at all in the same style,” she added. “It’s a more quiet story with the victims.”
“Both films are very much about the present, it is not a historical account. It is about their struggle in the present,” the producer noted. “This film will add a very important chapter in what has happened in Indonesia.”
The filmmakers shot footage for the new film after they shot The Act of Killing (a project Oppenheimer had worked on for seven years), but before the controversial film was released.
The victims will be seen on screen as they confront their family member’s killer. “We are taking a lot of precautions,” Byrge said of the family’s safety.
The Act of Killing was shown in Indonesia, starting with journalists in Jakarta and then at more than 150 community screenings across the country.
There was, perhaps unsurprisingly, no commercial theatrical release for the film. If that had happened the film could have been banned, Byrge explained.
“When possible, we will release it online so they can download it for free.”
A similar release pattern is planned for The Look of Silence. Byrge added: “We have a network now we can build on.”
Prison, kids, and politics
Final Cut For Real also recently worked on its first 3D film, a segment of Wim Wenders’ Cathedrals of Culture omnibus project directed by Michael Madsen.
Final Cut For Real co-founder and producer Anne Köhncke said it was particularly challenging shooting in 3D in a high security prison - Halden Prison in Norway.
“We wanted to explore a space that we could not get into normally,” said Köhncke. “The psychology of the architecture is that you’re in a building that you can’t leave.”
Another major project for the company a six-part co-production series between Denmark, Norway (Sant & Usant) and Sweden (Story). It will be launched for TV and festivals (and the educational market) at the end of 2014 or early 2015.
“Kids should see real kids with real problems, they can relate,” says producer Monica Hellström.
The stories are set against a sports backdrop but tackle larger life issues, for instance a boy and a girl who fence have to face growing apart as they get older; a Japanese young sumo wrestler deals with parental pressure; and a young cheerleader combats her feminist mother doesn’t approve of her sport. “Sport is really just one way of talking about feelings you have,” added Hellstrom.
The company also recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for Democrazy, Andreas M. Dalsgaard’s documentary about Colombian politics that is editing this summer.
After the whirlwind success of festival hit and BAFTA winner The Act of Killing, the team is looking forward to getting back to “normal”.
Byrge explained: “It’s crazy because of the time it has taken for all of us, especially Joshua. It’s been amazing, of course, but we’ve also been trying to run the company at the same time.”