Laura Poitras' Film about Edward Snowden to open DOK Leipzig 2014
The 57th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film will open on 27 October 2014 with the long-awaited film “CITIZENFOUR” by Laura Poitras. In the last instalment of her 9/11 trilogy, the multiple award-winning director shows how the United States’ so called “War on Terror” is directed against their own citizens.
In January 2013, Poitras received a number of encrypted e-mails from an anonymous sender who identified himself as “citizen four” and claimed to have evidence of massive covert surveillance operations of the NSA and other intelligence services. In June 2013, she flew to Hong Kong with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera. The resulting film is a documentary thriller in which events unfold minute by minute before our eyes.
“CITIZENFOUR is a film that leaves a lasting impression”, says festival director Claas Danielsen. “Laura Poitras succeeds in making us feel the totality of modern surveillance almost physically. At the same time, she gives us the psychological profile of a man who lives civic courage without compromise. CITIZENFOUR is one of those rare documentaries that are not only politically explosive but also deeply impressive works of art.”
CITIZENFOUR will see its world premiere on 10 October at the New York Film Festival. After a stop at the BFI London Film Festival, the film will open the 57th DOK Leipzig Festival, where it will compete in the International Competition Documentary Film section. CITIZENFOUR will compete for the Golden Dove as well as the “Leipziger Ring”, an award donated by the Stiftung Friedliche Revolution (Peaceful Revolution Foundation) to honour civic commitment to democracy and human rights in documentary film. On 6 November, Piffl Medien will release the film in Germany. The film was produced by Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky (Praxis Films, Berlin).
Laura Poitras’ previous films were screened to great acclaim at festivals across the world. “My Country, My Country” (2007) was nominated for numerous awards, including an Academy Award and an Emmy Award. “The Oath” (2010) won the Sundance Cinematography Award and the Edinburgh Film Festival Documentary Jury Award. She was distinguished, amongst others, with a Peabody Award and received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2012 for her work. Her first solo exhibition will be presented at the New York Whitney Museum in 2016.