Just over a week ago at MIFFecito, Day 3 opened with the first of two thought-provoking Master Classes: The Art of Curation with Thom Powers (@ThomPowers), manifesting what it takes to be the link between a film and its audience—the curator is the bridge. During the class, veteran curator Thom Powers (documentary programmer for MiamiFF and TIFF) cited Citizenfour, by Academy Award®-nominated director Laura Poitras, as an example of what a film experience should be, stating it was “a transcendent experience that I’m not sure I’ll have again… a movie [like Citizenfour,] brings anticipation and keeps you at the edge of your seat.”
Poitras’ film reveals the first extensive interviews with Edward Snowden after he blew the whistle on the National Security Agency (NSA) and government intrusion. A real life thriller, Citizenfour, is engrossing mainly because we get to see, up very close, the man behind the controversy. “Citizenfour“ was the alias that Snowden used to contact Poitras in January 2013—aware that she had long been a target of government surveillance—and the two corresponded over the course of five months. Once Poitras learned that Snowden didn’t intend to remain an anonymous source, she wanted to understand his motivations and convinced him to allow her to film their face-to-face meeting in a Hong Kong hotel room—along with journalist Glenn Greenwald—resulting in more than 20 hours worth of footage.
Citizenfour not only displays the dangers of governmental surveillance, it leaves you feeling vulnerable to them as well. The film opened in five theaters this past weekend, averaging an impressive $25,721 per theater, Indiewire reported yesterday, “With exceptional reviews, sell out crowds and multiple standing ovations. Citizenfour is already on track to become one of the biggest documentaries of the last five years,” Tom Quinn, Co-President, RADiUS said. Hitting more theaters next weekend, Citizenfour will premiere at Miami Beach Cinematheque Friday, November 21st. —Tatyana Chiocchetti, Josie Brown