Citizenfour has been premiered at the New York Film Festival. It is a documentary about Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on US surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans as well as various world leaders. It was filmed in Hong Kong, during the tense run-up to publication of the documents and follows Snowden as he meets journalists from the Washington Post and The Guardian. The film also reveals that he has been joined in exile in Russia by his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and includes footage of them living in Moscow.
Billed as a real life thriller, it is only the first of several films in the pipeline about Snowden, who is wanted by the United States on spying charges.
The film was directed by Laura Poitras who said the film raises important issues: “This is a continuation of looking at, focusing on, post 9-11 America. And it is looking at how surveillance is used as a form of controlling populations, and how the war on terror is kind of coming back to the US.”
Ben Wisner, Edward Snowden’s lawyer welcomed the film’s release: “One of the things I’m happy about with this film is that now, for the first time much of the world will get to see Edward Snowden as I have got to know him over the last year. This is someone who is responsible, who is serious, who is visionary. Who is self-effacing, who is brilliant, and who made an historic decision by himself, without any legal advice, and without knowing what the consequences would be for himself.”
Snowden’s revelations triggered a debate about the overlap of the right to privacy and a nation’s right to guard its security, and so far the jury is still out on whether he is a traitor or a whistle-blowing hero.
Citizenfour will be on screens in the US on 24th October.