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Laura Poitras

Laura PoitrasLaura Poitras is a journalist and documentary filmmaker and winner of the 2015 Academy Award for Best Documentary for her film, Citizen Four.

Citizen Four documents the story of Edward Snowden and his explosive  National Security Agency leaks, as Poitras met Snowden in Hong Kong and the leaks went public, and Snowden rose to global infamy.

“The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” Poitras said in her acceptance speech. “When the most important decisions being made, affecting all of us, are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. Thank you to Edward Snowden, for his courage, and for the many other whistleblowers. I share this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth.”

“When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant. I’m grateful that I allowed her to persuade me,” Snowden said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union. “The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”

Poitras grew up in Boston and studied film in New York in 1992, with an interest in experimental filmmakers. She co-directed, produced and shot the 2003 documentary Flag Wars, which won best documentary at the 2003 South by SouthWest Film Festival and was nominated for a 2004 Emmy Award, amongst others.

Poitras’ 2006 film My Country, My Country is set in Iraq and examines life under U.S. occupation. It was nominated for an Academy Award. In 2010 her film The Oath documents two Yemeni men embroiled in America’s War on Terror, won the Excellence in Cinematography Award for U.S. Documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Together these two films are parts of a trilogy, with the 2014 film Citizen Four showing how the War on Terror is using surveillance and covert spying, including attacks on whistleblowers like Snowden, is part of the overarching control mechanism of an increasing totalitarian society.

As a journalist Poitras won the 2013 George Polk Award for “national security reporting” for her work with Snowden and fellow journalist Glenn Greenwald on the NSA disclosures.


2014  Citizen Four

2010 The Oath

2006 My Country, My Country

2003  Flag Wars

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