Laura Poitras is a filmmaker, journalist, and artist. CITIZENFOUR, the third installment of her post-9/11 Trilogy, won an Academy Award for Best Documentary, along with awards from the British Film Academy, Independent Spirit Awards, Director’s Guild of America, Cinema Eye Honors, and others. Part one of the trilogy, MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY, about the U.S. occupation of Iraq, was nominated for an Academy Award. Part two, THE OATH, focused on Guantanamo and the war on terror, and was nominated for two Emmy awards.
She has received many honors for her work, including a MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Peabody Award. She has attended the Sundance Institute Documentary Labs as both a Fellow and Creative Advisor.
In 2006, the U.S. government placed her on a secret watchlist and, through 2012, she was detained and interrogated at the U.S. border each time she traveled internationally. To protect her footage from being seized at the U.S. border, she relocated to Berlin in 2012.
In January 2013, she received the first encrypted email from Edward Snowden who used the alias, “CITIZENFOUR.” After five months of correspondence, she traveled to Hong Kong with Glenn Greenwald. Her video from Hong Kong of Edward Snowden revealing his identity was broadcast worldwide.
Her reporting on NSA mass surveillance based on Snowden’s disclosures won the George Polk Award for national security journalism, and shared in the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
She has taught filmmaking a Yale and Duke Universities, and is on the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Along with Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, she is co-founder of The Intercept.
In 2016, she will have her first solo museum exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she will create an environment of immersive installations that build on the themes she has been exploring in her filmmaking.