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‘The Look of Silence’ Takes Top Prize At CPH:DOX Fest

Joshua Oppenheimer's follow-up to 'The Act of Killing' emerged triumphant at the Copenhagen documentary fest.

COPENHAGEN – “The Look of Silence,” U.S. docmaker Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up to his Oscar-nominated critical favorite “The Act of Killing,” continues to look a likely awards magnet after taking top honors at the CPH:DOX documentary film festival in Copenhagen.

The film, which continues its predecessor’s examination of the Indonesian communist genocide of the 1960s, was named the best film of the headlining DOX:Award section at the fest’s awards ceremony on Friday evening. It beat out a heavyweight field of 13 other pics, including Laura Poitras’ “Citizenfour.” Before presenting the award, jury representative David Wilson declared that while the decision hadn’t been unanimous, such disagreement was “fitting for a film that melds provocation with aesthetic brilliance.”

A visibly moved Oppenheimer, himself a Copenhagen resident, expressed his delight at winning on home turf, and thanked the festival for initially introducing him to his Danish producer Signe Byrge Sorenson.

The award comes two months after “The Look of Silence” took the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, where it premiered to major acclaim: Variety’s review declared it “an altogether stunning companion piece” to “Killing.”

The jury, which also included veteran filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik and Cannes Directors’ Fortnight programmer Laurence Reymond, also gave a special mention to another Danish production, Camilla Nielsson’s “Democrats.” The political doc, which had its world premiere at the fest, traces the three-year struggle to draw up Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution.

Nielsson was a multiple honoree at the ceremony, also sharing the Reel Talent Award for up-and-coming filmmakers with another female helmer, Lea Glob. Glob’s debut feature “Olmo and the Seagull” — a doc-drama hybrid about a thespian couple’s turbulent relationship, co-directed with Petra Costa — also emerged triumphant in the festival’s Nordic:DOX section.

Other winners at the fest included Egyptian artist-turned-filmmaker Basim Magdy, whose experimental film “The Dent” took the innovation-focused New:Vision Award, while U.S. directing team Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman won the F:ACT section for their Sundance 2013 premiere “E-Team.” The Audience Award, meanwhile, went to eco-minded Canadian doc “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story,” a film previously described by Variety critic Maggie Lee as a potential “international sleeper.”

CPH:DOX, which opened on Nov. 6 with a Europe-wide screening of Anders Ostergaard’s Cold War study “1989”, closes today.

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