"Leipziger Ring" goes to CITIZENFOUR
The documentary film CITIZENFOUR about the NSA scandal and Edward Snowden’s revelations was awarded the “Leipziger Ring” on Wednesday night. US American filmmaker Laura Poitras received the film prize of the Peaceful Revolution Foundation, which is endowed with 5,000 Euros, in the Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church) in Leipzig. The “Leipziger Ring” is the first prize to be awarded during the ongoing 57th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film. With this prize, the Foundation honours an artistic documentary film that shows exemplary civic engagement for democracy and human rights or was made with great personal commitment and courage in the face of resistance and restrictions of the freedom of opinion and the press.
The jury stated that Snowden had risked his life and freedom to make the world aware of intelligence service practices that hardly anyone would have believed possible. With her film, Laura Poitras had rendered a great service to the freedom of all people.
CITIZENFOUR is a US-German production from 2014 which celebrated its German premiere at the opening of DOK Leipzig. In a short video message, Snowden honoured Leipzig’s role in autumn 1989 and emphasised that “Leipzig reminded us that the wall and the GDR didn’t go down because of bombs or guns or violent resistance. It was brought down by ordinary people on the streets in the square on Mondays.”
The president of the Foundation, Professor Dr. Rainer Vor, pointed out in his welcoming address that the purpose of the Foundation, which was established five years ago, was to keep the values of the Peaceful Revolution alive and motivate people to work for these values by peaceful means. This was more necessary than ever today. He recalled the still rampant xenophobia in this country, but also the “intelligence services who had lost every restraint in their mania for surveillance”.
The “Leipziger Ring” was awarded for the fifth time. The statue evokes the mass demonstrations on Leipziger Ring street in autumn 1989 as well as the burning candles carried by the protesters as symbols of non-violence. Twelve films from the Official Programme of DOK Leipzig were nominated for the Prize.