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by Robert Rippberger & Tobias Deml
Cinema of Change

Joshua Oppenheimer: Why Filmmakers Shouldn't Chase Impact


Welcome to the Cinema of Change podcast with Tobias Deml and Robert Rippberger. Cinema of Change is a magazine and community that challenges the conventions of film and its ability to effect change in the world.

Joshua Lincoln Oppenheimer was born in 1974 in Austin, Texas. He is a two-time Oscar-nominated American film director based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Oppenheimer has a Bachelor of Arts-degree summa cum laude in filmmaking from Harvard University and a PhD from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts in London.

Oppenheimer spent 12 years in Indonesia and returned with two internationally praised documentaries, The Act of Killing (2012) & The Look of Silence (2014), both challenged the documentary film form and shed new light on the minds behind The Indonesian Genocide of 1965-1966.

  • 01:30 How films can change both the world and the people in and behind them.
  • 02:20 - The true impact of films
  • 07:05 The psychology of perpetrators
  • 10:40 What screenwriters and narrative filmmakers can learn about real villains
  • 12:20 Advice to narrative filmmakers to have their films make more impact
  • 15:15 Protecting the artist from his/her impact
  • 19:00 On film criticism and understanding how a film works on an audience
  • 20:35 On motivation, risk-taking and finding your path

We hope you find the conversation interesting and evocative. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss an episode.

Be the change that you want to see in the world. Then, turn it into cinema.



by Robert Rippberger & Tobias Deml