Here’s some official language:
Joshua Oppenheimer is a documentary filmmaker illuminating the social, psychological, and emotional dimensions of controversial subjects in works that redefine the dynamic between filmmaker and subject, film and audience. Through a unique mode of filmmaking that mixes the real and the invented, he is challenging the modern aesthetic of contemporary documentary cinema in both intimacy of focus and visual construct.
While the harrowing “Act of Killing” told the story of the Indonesian genocide from the perspective of the killers, “The Look of Silence” sees the tragedy from the victims’ point-of-view. The universally loved documentary played Toronto, Telluride and Venice — where it won four awards including the Special Jury prize — and will soon screen at the New York Film Festival. Drafthouse Films and Participant Media have set a Summer 2015 release. (Venice review here.)
Also notably on the list of MacArthur Fellows is cartoonist and graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel. Her now-famous Bechdel Test, which asks whether two female characters talk to each other about something besides men, is a groundbreaker for gender parity in film and television.