Film Prize "LEIPZIGER RING">
Prize of the Jury for the Stiftung Friedliche Revolution for the best documentary about the subject of democracy
LAURA POITRAS (USA) für ihren Film CITIZENFOUR
Reasoning of the Jury for the 2014 film prize „Leipziger Ring“
awarded to the film CITIZENFOUR by Laura Poitras
Freedom is a great asset of democracy and must be defended over and over again. Edward Snowden‘s disclosures have clarified this once more. He has been brave enough to risk his existence, in order to open the eyes of the world: to the practices and operations of secret services which hardly anyone considered possible in a democracy.
The documentary film CITIZENFOUR shows that convincingly. „I am not important. It is not about me. It is about the freedom of us all“, the 29-year old says in the film that, at the same time, also shows the restrictions of Snowden’s own freedom – right up to his stay in Moscow, where his girl-friend joined him. Without any doubt, Edward Snowden’s life has been in highest danger until this very day and will remain so for a long time to come. The publicity which he gains by this documentary film also provides – as any publicity – protection for him at the same time.
Under the code name of „Citizenfour“, Edward Snowden had contacted the committed filmmaker Laura Poitras who made the restriction of the freedom rights after September 11, 2001 and the ensuing fight against the terror the subject of her work. Edward Snowden let her know that he had information about the surveillance activities of both the British and US governments. Laura Poitras, together with the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, flew to Hong Kong to collect the relevant material there.
This encounter resulted in an exciting documentary film that does not only surprise by its interesting cuts and images. Also the picture painted by the film of Edward Snowden is unusual: He is by no means portrayed as the great hero who challenges a world power. The film rather introduces a modest young man who makes no secret of his fears and who relies on the support of courageous friends. He sees himself as part of a movement that is putting up a fight against the possible surveillance of the private sphere in the digital era.
Moral courage begins at one’s own front door. Everyone is responsible himself or herself what he or she does or omits, whether he or she can look in the mirror in the morning with a clear conscience or not. And moral courage begins right at the bottom. From here, solidarity emerges that can develop into a mighty force. This has been shown by the peaceful revolution in 1989 – an experience indispensible especially today in a democracy. „We carry on“ is the slogan of the Foundation Peaceful Revolution that awards the film prize. This applies in particular to the freedom rights fought for in 1989 and to any kind of surveillance. This is why the Jury has taken its decision in favour of this film - with which Laura Poitras has also rendered a great service to our own freedom.
Filmpreis "Leipziger Ring" along with € 5 000 granted by the Stiftung Friedliche Revolution