Laura Poitras

Laura Poitras is an Oscar and Pulitzer Prize winning filmmaker and journalist. 

Her most recent film, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, premiered at the Venice Film Festival where it won the Golden Lion, only the second documentary to win the top prize in the festival’s history. The film was nominated for an Academy Award, won an Independent Spirit Award, and was named best documentary of the year by New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the National Society of Film Critics.

Her film CITIZENFOUR won an Academy Award for Best Documentary, along with awards from BAFTA, Directors Guild of America, Independent Spirit Awards, Gotham Awards, German Filmpreis, and Cinema Eye Honors, among others. Her journalism exposing the U.S. National Security Agency’s global mass surveillance programs was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, and the George Polk Award for National Security reporting.

Her Oscar-nominated film My Country, My Country, the first film in her Post-9/11 Trilogy, documents the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The second film of the trilogy, the Emmy-nominated The Oath, documents Guantanamo Bay Prison and the U.S. “war on terror.”

The Whitney Museum of American Art commissioned her first solo museum exhibition, Astro Noise. Curated by Jay Sanders, the exhibition featured a series of new immersive installations: Anarchist, O’Say Can You See, Bed Down Location, Disposition Matrix, November 20, 2004, and Last Seen. She has also been commissioned to create film installations for Manifesta, and n.b.k. Gallery, Berlin.

Her other films include Risk, Flag Wars, Project X, Death of a Prisoner, The Program, Triple-Chaser, and Terror Contagion.

In 2006, the U.S. government placed her on a secret terrorist watchlist and detained and interrogated her dozens of times at the U.S. border. In 2015, she successfully sued the government to obtain her classified FBI files. The hundreds of heavily redacted documents reveal that the FBI conducted physical and digital surveillance of her, sent FBI agents to her film screenings, subpoenaed her private communications, and conducted a classified counterintelligence investigation. 

Poitras is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow. She has also received a Peabody Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, and grants from the Sundance Institute, Creative Capital, Vital Projects Fund, Cinereach, and others. 

She is a founding board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, on the advisory board of Forensic Architecture, and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences. She co-founded The Intercept, First Look Media, and Field of Vision. Her production company Praxis Films is based in New York City and Berlin.