Snowden Documentary, Citizenfour, Nominated for Best Documentary Oscar

In the recent years, documentaries have been making a big impact on the topics of discussion we have in our daily life. Last year, Blackfish made headlines for highlighting the mistreatment of Orca whales, also known as “killer whales,” at SeaWorld. This year, it looks like the Edward Snowden documentary called Citizenfour, directed by Laura Poitras, might just be the next movie driving discussion. The Academy Awards lineup was released, and Citizenfour is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary category.

“This is a film that got made because a lot of people took a lot of risks,” Poitras told Variety. “This is a celebration of that.”

The film shows how Snowden originally spoke to Poitras, then with journalist Glenn Greenwald, through secure encrypted channels while he was working closely with the NSA. The movie is set in Hong Kong, when Snowden invited both Greenwald and Poitras to visit him and review the NSA documents. Afterward, he flew to Russia and was charged with espionage by the United States government.

Also read: Edward Snowden Calls Amazon “Morally Irresponsible” For Not Encrypting User Data

Support from Snowden Colleagues

CitizenfourGreenwald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who originally broke the Snowden story, congratulated Poitras over Twitter following the announcement.

Greenwald is featured in the film working with Snowden while reviewing the plethora of classified documents Snowden leaked.

“You know the public response, and in the press, has been pretty extraordinary for us,” Poitras told the New York Times. “We didn’t know what to expect. We made a film that was unknown outside of a very small circle, and there was a lot of uncertainties. It’s been pretty incredible to see this happen.”

The amount of incriminating and disturbing evidence found in the documents Snowden leaked are growing nearly every day. Skype is compromised, and many people are beginning to try to safeguard themselves from the NSA. Channels like Tor are considered safe by some, compromised by others, and even encrypted messaging apps like Telegram are finding holes in their platform.

Snowden Greenwald

World governments are still trying to close in on citizen communications and activists like Kim Dotcom are developing tools to keep private communications a secret. The next few years will be interesting, and many people are excited that the Academy decided to highlight a film that tackles such a controversial topic.

Images from Laura Poitras.

Clay Gillespie a writer and reporter for many different platforms across the tech industry. He holds a B.S. in Public Relations from Ball State University, and freelances for different clients in technology and cryptocurrency. For more information, visit his personal website,