Joshua Oppenheimer documentary gains traction as awards season accelerates
Joshua Oppenheimer's acclaimed documentary The Look of Silence gained early momentum as awards seasons got underway Monday night, winning the Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Documentary.
Oppenheimer's film is the follow up to his Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing, an exploration of the genocide in Indonesia in 1965. The Look of Silence triumphed over four other films:
Approaching the Elephant directed by Amanda Rose Wilder
Cartel Land directed by Matthew Heineman
Heart of a Dog directed by Laurie Anderson
Listen to Me Marlon directed by Stevan Riley
The Look of Silence will compete for another major honor this Saturday in Los Angeles at theIDA Awards. Listen to Me Marlon is in contention there as well, along with Amy directed by Asif Kapadia; The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution directed by Stanley Nelson; The Russian Woodpecker directed by Chad Gracia, and What Happened, Miss Simone? directed by Liz Garbus.
The Gotham Awards recognized both narrative and documentary films. In the Best Feature category, Spotlight claimed the top prize. The Todd McCarthy film bested Carol, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Heaven Knows What, and Tangerine.
Helen Mirren and Robert Redford received special tributes for their acting work. In his acceptance speech Redford admitted desperately wanting to achieve success as a young actor.
"You yearn for it," he said.
He recounted the story of walking along Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles as a young star when a car full of young people came down the street, the young guns recognized him and began shouting his name. Redford said the attention made him feel quite good about himself until the kids shouted a final comment, "Robert Redford. You're an asshole!"
The actor and Sundance founder said that experience taught him an important lesson.
"Humility was very, very, important."
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.