By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire November 14, 2013 at 8:50AM
"The Act of Killing" won the 2013 PUMA Impact Award, PUMA and The BRITDOC Foundation announced last night at a ceremony in New York City.
The other nominated films are "Bully," "Give up Tomorrow," "The Interrupters" and "The Invisible War."
The jurors for this year's PUMA Impact Award -- Susan Sarandon, Ricken Patel, Gael Garcia Bernal, Zadie Smith, and Eric Schlosser -- selected "The Act of Killing" to win the 50,000 Euro award. Half the cash prize rewards the filmmakers for their creative efforts, while the other half is dedicated to supporting the film’s campaign for change.
"The Invisible War" was awarded a special Jury Commendation.
Of the winning film, the jury said: "'The Act of Killing’ is a staggering and unique work of art that stands above time and place and will enrich and empower everyone who has the privilege to see it for many years to come. Its brave brilliance has already led to tremendous impact, almost single handedly opening the painful dialogue on Indonesia's genocide, which claimed over one million lives. As a film, it has the potential to change the genre, and as art, it resurrects the deep insight into our nature offered by the “banality of evil." In doing so, its impact moves well beyond Indonesia, providing a contribution to all humanity."
In "The Act of Killing," director Joshua Oppenheimer meets up with the men who led the death squads in North Sumatra in the Indonesian genocides of the mid 1960's in Indonesia, still heroes in many parts of the country, and works with them recreate their killings in the style of their favorite movies.
With screenings across the country, the film has helped the country come to terms with its history.
"The Act of Killing" was released concurrently with a report by the Indonesian Human Rights Commission, which provided evidence of the military's complicity in the country's genocide. The National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia called the film “essential viewing for us all."
"Invisible War" by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, exposes an epidemic of rape within the U.S. military, concluding that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during military service.
Now in its third year, the PUMA Impact Awards were created by PUMA to identify and honor the documentary film that has made the most significant positive social or environment impact. Read the full announcement here.