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AFI Docs to Honor ‘Citizenfour’ Director Laura Poitras

Variety logo Variety 5/23/2017 Dave McNary
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The American Film Institute’s AFI Docs festival will pay tribute to “Citizenfour” director Laura Poitras as the festival’s Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree.

The award will be presented at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on June 16 and will include an in-depth conversation with Poitras along with clips from her works. Poitras’ latest film “Risk,” a six-year project following WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, was released by Neon on May 5 and will air on Showtime this summer.

Poitras’ documentary credits include “The Oath” (2010), “My Country, My Country” (2006) and “Flag Wars” (2003). “Citizenfour” grew out of a meeting with Edward Snowden in 2013 after he e-mailed her inside information about illegal wiretapping practices of the U.S. National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies. She won the 2015 Academy Award for  Best Feature Documentary for the film.

“Poitras has the extraordinary instinct and ability to put her camera in the heart of history as it unfolds, regardless of the risk,” said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI Docs.  “Using her keen eye, Poitras reveals worlds just beyond what we can see.  We are honored to celebrate her remarkable career and dedication to the documentary form.”

“Flag Wars” was nominated for an Emmy and won a Peabody Award. She received an Academy Award nomination for “My Country, My Country.” Poitras co-founded Field of Vision, an entity that commissions and creates original short-form nonfiction films about global events, in 2015.

Previous Guggenheim Symposium honorees are Charles Guggenheim (2003), Barbara Kopple (2004), Martin Scorsese (2006), Jonathan Demme (2007), Spike Lee (2008), Albert Maysles (2009), Frederick Wiseman (2010), Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker (2011), Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (2012), Errol Morris (2013), Alex Gibney (2014), Stanley Nelson (2015) and Werner Herzog (2016).

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