Q

Citizenfour dir. Laura Poitras on Snowden and the point of no return

From the Best of Q, filmmaker Laura Poitras reflects on her harrowing Oscar-winning documentary about former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
Filmmaker Laura Poitras was the first person Edward Snowden, seen here, trusted with top secret NSA documents that he felt the public has a right to see. (Radius TWC/The Associated Press)

In a conversation from the Best of Q, filmmaker Laura Poitras joins guest host Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss Citizenfour, her harrowing Oscar-winning documentary about former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. 

Poitras, who received a "mysterious set of emails" from Snowden long before he was a household name, details her intense series of interviews with the whistleblower in Hong Kong and Moscow as he evaded capture by U.S. authorities. She spent eight days filming him as he disclosed his top secret government documents to the world as well as his identity.  

The filmmaker explains why the two trusted one another in this high-stakes situation, how being put on a watch list fuelled her choice to make the film, and why she centres her story on Snowden despite his request for her to focus on his revelations.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now