Joshua Oppenheimer

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Joshua Oppenheimer
Joshua Oppenheimer 2015.jpg
Oppenheimer in 2015
Born (1974-09-23) September 23, 1974 (age 40)
Texas, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Film director

Joshua Lincoln Oppenheimer (born September 23, 1974) is an Oscar-nominated[1] American film director based in Copenhagen, Denmark.[2][3] Oppenheimer is a 2014 recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Award[4] and a 1997 Marshall Scholar.[5]

Life and career[edit]

Oppenheimer was born in Austin, Texas, and grew up in and around Washington, DC, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Oppenheimer received a Bachelor of Arts (BA) summa cum laude in filmmaking from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, while studying on a Marshall Scholarship. He is currently a Reader in documentary film at the University of Westminster

His first film The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase (1997) won a Gold Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival (1998)[6]

From 2004 to 2012, he produced a series of films in Indonesia. His debut feature film, The Act of Killing (2012), premiered at the 2012 Telluride Film Festival. It went on to win many prizes world-wide, including the European Film Award for Best Documentary, a Panorama Audience Award, and a Prize of the Ecumenical Jury from the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival.[7] The film also received the Robert Award by the Film Academy of Denmark, a Bodil Award by Denmark's National Association of Film Critics,[8] and the Aung San Suu Kyi Award at the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival 2013 [9]

Oppenheimer appeared on The Daily Show on August 13, 2013 to talk about The Act of Killing.[10]

The Act of Killing won the BAFTA for Best Documentary, European Film Award for Best Documentary, the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Documentary, and was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 86th Academy Awards.[11]

Oppenheimer's next film, The Look of Silence (2014) is a companion piece to The Act of Killing. It was screened in competition at the 71st Venice International Film Festival[12][13] and won the Grand Jury Prize, the International Film Critics Award (FIPRESCI), the Italian online critics award (Mouse d'Oro), the European Film Critics Award (FEDEORA) for the Best Film of Venezia 71, as well as the Human Rights Nights Award.[14]


  • Hugh (1995)
  • These Places We've Learned to Call Home (1996)
  • The Challenge of Manufacturing (1997)
  • The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase (1997)
  • The Globalisation Tapes (2003) (With Christine Cynn, co-director)
  • A Brief History of Paradise as Told by the Cockroaches (2003)
  • Market Update (2003)
  • Postcard from Sun City, Arizona (2004)
  • Muzak: a tool of management (2004)
  • Show of Force (2007)
  • Several Consequences of the Decline of Industry in the Industrialised World (2008)
  • The Act of Killing (2012)
  • The Look of Silence (2014)


  • Acting on AIDS: Sex, Drugs & Politics (Acting on AIDS). London & New York: Serpent's Tail, 1997, ISBN 1-85242-553-9, ISBN 978-1-85242-553-1. (With Helena Reckitt, co-editor.)
  • Going through the motions and becoming other. (With Michael Uwemedimo, co-author). In: Chanan, Michael, (ed.) Visible evidence. Wallflower Press, 2007. London, UK. (In Press)
  • History and Histrionics: Vision Machine's Digital Poetics. (With Michael Uwemedimo, co-author). In: Marchessault, Janine and Lord, Susan, (eds.) Fluid screens, expanded cinema. University of Toronto Press, 2007, Toronto, Canada, pp. 167–183. ISBN 978-0-8020-9297-7.
  • Show of force: a cinema-séance of power and violence in Sumatra's plantation belt. (With Michael Uwemedimo, co-author). In Critical Quarterly, Volume 51, No 1, April 2009, pp. 84–110. Edited by: Colin MacCabe. Blackwell Publishing, 2009. ISSN 0011-1562.
  • Killer Images: Documentary Film, Memory and the Performance of Violence. (With Joram Ten Brink, co-author). Columbia University Press (28 Feb 2013), ISBN 0231163347, ISBN 978-0231163347


External links[edit]