EXCLUSIVE: The team behind the multiple-award-winning documentary The Act of Killing is developing a follow-up, The Look Of Silence.
Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing was about Indonesian death squad veterans re-enacting their crimes in the style of popular films.
Oppenheimer, born in Texas but now based in Copenhagen, is promising a follow-up film that won’t be a sequel, but rather the same society seen from a different point of view.
“The Act of Killing is about the perpetrators but this is the other side of the story, this is about coexistence and about survivors families,” producer and CEO Signe Byrge Sørensen of Copenhagen-based Final Cut For Real told Screen.
“What does it mean to live in a society where the people who killed your son or daughter are still walking around and are your neighbours?”
She added: “It’s going to be as strong emotionally as The Act of Killing but obviously very, very different in terms of the whole way it started.”
Seeing The Act of Killing won’t be necessary to appreciate the new film. “It’s totally a standalone,” she said of the new film, which is likely to be delivered in summer 2014.
It will be pitched at Sheffield Doc/Fest’s MeetMarket in June.
Meanwhile, The Act of Killing is being released by Drafthouse Films in the US in July.
Other distributors are Cinema Delicatessen in the Netherlands, ZED in France, I Wonder in Italy, Against Gravity in Poland, Dogwoof in the UK, Madman in Australia/New Zealand, Kudos Family in Norway, and Tricon in Serbia/Montenegro/Croatia/Slovenia.
The attention for The Act of Killing has been enormous. “That whole experience from last year of Telluride and Toronto, that launched us into a whole new world…it’s been pretty amazing, it’s been fantastic to be part of that,” said Byrge Sørensen.
In the pipeline
Other projects in the works at Final Cut For Real include (as co-producer) Carl Javér’s Freak Out: The Alternative Movement Begins, about a countercultural society in early 20th Century Europe; and Andreas M. Dalsgaard’s Democrazy, about Colombian politics.
Final Cut For Real is also serving as co-producer on Cathedrals of Culture, a series about the soul of European buildings, which is lead produced by Wim Wenders’ Neue Road Movies. The Danish episode directed by Michael Madsen (Into Eternity) about a humane prison in Norway. That will be shot in both 2D and 3D.
The outfit is also working on a new documentary series (as yet untitled) for a target audience of 8-12 year olds.
The pilot, directed by Simon Lereng Wilmont, is about a boy in Japan who wants to be a sumo wrestler so he lives up to his parents’ expectations. The series is being financed now, and is expected to include other instalments from the Nordic countries about universal themes told through the backdrop of kids in sports.
Final Cut For Real’s recent films also include The Human Scale, Traveling with Mr. T and The Pirate Bay-Away From Keyboard, plus the forthcoming Last Dreams.
The company’s key team of producers also includes Anne Köhncke and Monica Hellström.
Byrge Sørensen pays credit to the Danish system of support for helping documentaries flourish there.
“We are very, very lucky – there is a long tradition of documentaries in Denmark and we have public television – both DR and TV2 — that support and understand the need for documentaries,” she said.
“The Danish Film Institute is very important to us. That system at the DFI is important for the culture of documentaries. Also, CPH DOX has grown so much in the past 10 years. To work in this kind of supportive environment is incredible.”