Angelina Jolie’s movie, First They Killed My Father, was screened at the Telluride Film Festival over the weekend. Critics received the movie with standing ovation and there might be an Academy Award waiting, some say.

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie got behind the camera in yet another production. First They Killed My Father screens the story of Cambodian human rights activist Loung Ung, from the time of the Khmer Regime in the 70s, when she was a child.

Jolie met Loung Ung over 15 years ago and calls her “a dear friend”.

“Reading her book taught me a lot about this country”, she says in the movie teaser, adding that turning her story into a movie is her way of repaying Ung: “In a way, I’m doing this for her, for her family, for Cambodia and very much also for Maddox, so he learns about who he is.”

Jolie’s eldest son, Maddox, now 16, was born in Cambodia. He was adopted by Jolie in 2001, while she was visiting an orphanage. The adoption process was halted in 2002, when the United States banned adoptions from Cambodia. But by the end of the year, the actress was able to legally finish the adoption process and took full custody of her first son in 2003. Maddox was supposed to have two adoptive parents – Jolie’s then-partner, actor Billy Bob Thornton was supposed to also adopt the boy – but after breaking-up the relationship, the actress became a single mother to Maddox. Years later, in 2006, Maddox Jolie became Maddox Jolie-Pitt.

“Maddox has been working on this since the beginning. He’s in the production” Jolie says, explaining that he has been helping her with the script.


First They Killed My Father was screened for critics at the Telluride Festival, on Sunday, September 3. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that this movie was Jolie’s “best directorial effort yet”, while IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote on social media: “I’ve admired aspects of Angelina Jolie’s filmmaking across all her work. Now she’s delivered her best.”