LOS ANGELES, Oct. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, announced today the acquisition of US rights to The Act Of Killing, the breakout Danish documentary that shook audiences at this year's Toronto and Telluride International Film Festivals. Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, the film ventures deep into the minds of former Indonesian death squad leaders who are challenged to reenact their real-life mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers. A 30-market theatrical release and awards campaign for Best Documentary Feature is planned for The Act Of Killing in 2013.
Chronicling one of the most overlooked genocides in recent history, The Act Of Killing utilizes dramatization to illustrate the banal state of corruption and impunity the unrepentant, locally celebrated former executioners inhabit. The film earned early praise from master documentarians Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Into The Abyss) and Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog Of War), whose enthusiasm for the film lead to their role as Executive Producers. "I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade," says Herzog, "it is unprecedented in the history of cinema." Morris adds, "like all great documentaries, The Act of Killing demands another way of looking at reality...an amazing and impressive film."
The film has been championed by critics for its innovative and uncompromising approach including Steven Zeitchik of The Los Angeles Times who wrote, "The Act Of Killing could well change how you view the documentary form," and Tom Charity for CNN who agrees, saying the film is a "radical development in the documentary form and as an explosive journalistic expose."
"The Act Of Killing is a landmark acquisition for us. No other film at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival made a comparable residual impression," says Drafthouse Films CEO Tim League, "it is an honor to work with Joshua Oppenheimer and his team to introduce such an important, groundbreaking film to audiences around the country."
"The Act of Killing is a film that inspires powerful reactions in many viewers, but among the most powerful have come from the team at Drafthouse. I am therefore extremely happy to have such passion fuelling the film's U.S. release. And because The Act of Killing is an indictment of impunity everywhere, not least in the United States, our American theatrical release is particularly meaningful -- and it couldn't possibly be in better or more caring hands."
The Act of Killing was produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen for one of Denmark's leading
documentary production companies, Final Cut for Real. "Throughout the production of The Act of Killing it has been our ambition that this film should reach a theatrical audience. We are therefore extremely thrilled to collaborate with Drafthouse on the US release of the film. Drafthouse came highly recommended by other Scandinavian producers and directors and we look forward to working together on getting The Act Of Killing to the American public."
The deal was negotiated by Tim League, James Emanuel Shapiro and Evan Husney on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Philippa Kowarsky of Cinephil on behalf of the film's producers.
The Act Of Killing is available for festival and museum bookings now until August, 2013. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For theatrical bookings contact Sumyi Khong Antonson, VP of Marketing and Distribution at email@example.com.
For Alamo Drafthouse & Drafthouse Films Media Requests:
CONTACT: Brandy Fons
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About The Act Of Killing
In a country where killers are celebrated as heroes, the filmmakers challenge unrepentant death squad leaders to dramatize their role in genocide. The hallucinatory result is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass-murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit.
About Joshua Oppenheimer, Director
Born 1974, Texas, USA. Joshua Oppenheimer has worked for over a decade with militias, death squads and their victims to explore the relationship between political violence and the public imagination. Educated at Harvard and Central St Martins, London, his award-winning films include The Globalization Tapes (2003, co-directed with Christine Cynn), The Entire History Of The Louisana Purchase (1998, Gold Hugo, Chicago Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival), These Places We've Learned To Call Home (1996, Gold Spire, San Francisco Film Festival) and numerous shorts. Oppenheimer is Senior Researcher on the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council's Genocide and Genre project and has published widely on these themes. Oppenheimer is currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
About Signe Byrge Sørensen, Producer
Born 1970, Copenhagen, Denmark, Signe Byrge Sørensen has been a producer for 14 years. She founded Final Cut for Real ApS in 2009. She has produced documentaries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Thailand and Argentina, besides Denmark and Sweden. Amongst her most recent films are Voices of the World and The Importance of Being Mlabri, co-directed with Janus Billeskov Jansen. Besides this she has produced for example Football is God, directed by Ole Bendtzen, The Kid and the Clown, directed by Ida Grøn and The Human Scale, directed by Andreas Dalsgaard. Signe holds an MA in International Development Studies and Communication Studies from Roskilde University, Denmark, 1998 and is a EURODOC graduate from 2003 and an EAVE graduate from 2010.
About Christine Cynn, Co-Director
Christine Cynn has been directing documentary and experimental films for the past 14 years. For the last decade, she has been developing new ways to document the human imagination. Educated at Harvard, and the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to Uganda, she co-directed The Globalization Tapes (2003) with Joshua Oppenheimer. She has written screenplays for FilmFour and was a founding member of the Vision Machine Film Project in London. She was a researcher on the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council's Genocide and Genre project. Cynn is currently developing a project, Science Future, combining documentary with fiction, about how scientists imagine the future.
About 'Anonymous', Co-Director
Due to the nature of this film; its subject matter, production methods and the context in which it has been made; it has unfortunately been necessary to credit numerous Indonesian partners and collaborators, working across all aspects of the film(from Co-Direction and Cinematography to Sound Recording, Production Management, Make Up, Music, Choreography and Technical Support) as Anonymous. Behind this honourable and historically resonant naming stand many remarkable people, who have worked tirelessly to bring these profoundly disturbing stories to wider attention. Their courage has made this film possible. Without them, it could not have been more than an idea, a wish. We share with them a deep hope that our collective labour might contribute in some way to a shift in the forces currently shaping and governing Indonesia, and towards a justice for both individuals and communities. We thank them for their trust in us, and the extraordinary commitment they have brought to this project.
About Final Cut for Real, Copenhagen, Denmark
Final Cut for Real is dedicated to high-end creative documentaries for the international market. Our policy is to be curious, daring and seek out directors with serious artistic ambitions. We do not from the outset set any limits on subjects or locations. We look for interesting stories, great characters and in-depth social, cultural and political analysis – and we also try to give the films a twist of
humour. Our method is for our producers to work closely with "their" directors from the first idea to the final film, and keep on exchanging ideas and feedback. Together we cover a wide range of development and production expertise – and work with younger talent as well as established filmmakers. We try to create a productive mixture of experience and new approaches to documentary
About Drafthouse Films
Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, is a curated brand of provocative, visionary and artfully unusual films new and old from around the world. Following the earnestly simple motto of "sharing the films we love with widest audience possible," Drafthouse Films debuted in 2010 with the theatrical release of Four Lions which was named of Time Magazine's "Top 10 Films Of The Year." The 2012 release slate includes the acclaimed Best Foreign Language Oscar®) Bullhead, the internationally celebrated Danish comedy Klown (currently slated for a Warner Bros/Todd Phillips produced US remake), Mads Brügger's acclaimed provocative documentary The Ambassador, the 40th anniversary restoration of landmark Australian thriller Wake In Fright, and together with producing partners Magnolia Pictures and Timpson Films, the much-anticipated anthology horror film The ABC's Of Death featuring 26 different directors that Fangoria calls, "a stunning roll call of some of the most exciting names in horror across the world." Drafthouse Films distributes films theatrically, through home video, VOD and their direct-to-consumer platforms integrating into the ever-growing Alamo Drafthouse entertainment lifestyle brand, which along with the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas includes: Mondo, the collectible art boutique; Fantastic Fest, the largest international genre film festival in the US; and the pop culture website Badass Digest.
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