Copenhagen-based documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer and legendary American and graphic novelist Alison Bechdel (“Fun Home”), who is credited with developing the famous feminist form of measurement colloquially known as “The Bechdel Test,” have been named among this year’s 21 MacArthur Foundation Fellows.
Oppenheimer’s latest film, “The Look of Silence,” a sequel to his award-winning (and controversial) “The Act of Killing,” debuted at the Telluride Film Festival last week to widespread critical acclaim. Both films provide an extremely cogent sociopolitical analysis of the mass killings that took place throughout Indonesia during 1965 and 1966, through the lens of the survivors and their descendants.
As MacArthur fellows, Oppenheimer and Bechdel will each receive a $625,000 stipend to use however they see fit. The Foundation grants its fellows limitless freedom with the monetary awards they receive in order to facilitate, rather than hinder and/or re-direct, the creative processes and workflows that earned said fellows the honor in the first place, according to the organization.
In a statement issued by the Foundation, MacArthur Fellows Program Vice President Cecilia Conrad commented: “Those who think creativity is dying should examine the life’s work of these extraordinary innovators who work in diverse fields and in different ways to improve our lives and better our world.”
Indeed, Oppenheimer and Bechdel continue to challenge us to think beyond ourselves; to understand our identity and actions in relation to one another.