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Published: Thursday 29 August, 2013

cheap michael kors watches cheap michael kors watches ´╗┐Filmmaker takes center stage in surveillance story

LOS ANGELES Poitras skill and boldness as a documentary filmmaker have gained her Oscar and Emmy nominations, Sundance Film Festival honors and a public TV showcase, even if her work fell short of making a Super Size Me splash. surveillance programs has drawn the glare of attention to the independent filmmaker who, abruptly, has pushed documentaries deeper into the realm of journalistic immediacy. For peers and backers of Poitras, the 2012 recipient of a $500,000 genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation, its unsurprising that she has seized a story worth telling. However, her crucial involvement with a confidential source and two newspapers on the same big exclusive is extraordinary. Shes incredibly driven and determined and she doesnt let obstacles get in the way, said Simon Kilmurry, executive producer of PBS documentary series POV, a home to Poitras work. She really works at the intersection of journalist and artist and storyteller. Poitras, 49, who has said she was Edward Snowdens first media contact on the story she helped break, shared bylines on The Washington Post and The Guardian of London articles revealing vast and secret phone and Internet surveillance. She was behind the camera for a gripping video interview, posted online, in which the former spy agency contractor responsible for the leaks calmly defended his actions. Poitras has previously discussed working on a documentary on state surveillance and whistleblowers, the final part of her trilogy on the aftermath of Sept. 11. border harassment during her travels, Poitras said. You probably dont like how this system works. I think you can tell the story, she recounted Snowden telling her. Their early exchanges had cloakanddagger overtones, including his request that they communicate in encrypted type. He first emailed her anonymously in January and, independently, the Guardians Glenn Greenwald around February, she told Salon. She contacted her other collaborator, Barton Gellman for the Post, about the same time to get the experienced journalists assessment of Snowdens legitimacy. In a statement, Gellman said his connection to the story began with Laura, a friend who had been a fellow with him at New York University, and later included extensive conversations between him and Snowden. Greenwald, who didnt reply to a request for comment, also is a friend of the filmmaker. Poitras was guarded with Salon in detailing how the reporting unfolded, saying, I feel a certain need to be cautious about not wanting to do the work for the government. She added she wasnt ready to tell the whole story now. . I want to tell it in my own words. Im a storyteller. Kirsten Johnson, who works with Poitras as a cinematographer, has been in touch with her. She is doing well, and I think she feels the responsibility of the importance of this historical event, Johnson said Thursday. With the National Security Agency revelations, Poitras has taken the lead on a growing trend in which documentarians are rivaling the speed of historyinahurry news reporting while they develop more detailed film accounts. Laura has expanded her capacity to explore the story even as she is making the story, said Cara Mertes, director of the Sundance Institutes documentary film program and a longtime producer and supporter. Shes one of the most remarkable filmmakers working today. Other documentarians have changed the national conversation, said veteran filmmaker and activist Robert Greenwald no relation to Glenn Greenwald. But the onetwothree punch of combining traditional news outlets, social media and video is quite extraordinary and my hat goes off to Poitras and the newspaper reporters, said Greenwald, who recently completed the film War on Whistleblowers. We used to wait five, 10, 15 years before we did a documentary, he said. Now were right in the middle and it gives you the ability to affect the story. The old model of waiting for the finished film is less and cheap michael kors watches less important. Its more about getting pieces out. Not all are swayed by the approach; one observer is downright cynical. Marvin Kalb, professor emeritus of press and public policy at Harvard University, said he could think of no precedent for a situation where a documentarian drove a story in this manner. His gut feeling is that shes blown it and should have kept this information for herself and her documentary, and in one glorious moment have all of it, said Kalb, a longtime reporter for CBS and NBC News. It might not have been her choice, he said: Snowden may have been driving the decision to get the material out as quickly as possible. Poitras hasnt been one to shrink from a challenge or challenging material. occupation, and 2010s The Oath was about the effect of antiterrorism measures on two Middle Eastern men, including one of Osama bin Ladens former bodyguards. The latter two films are part of her post9/11 series, topics that have earned her industry respect if not the attention given lessweighty films such as Morgan Spurlocks Super Size Me account of a healthchallenging month on a McDonalds menu. In a filmmaker statement posted on the POV website in connection with The Oath, Poitras said she intended to create an ontheground record that can help us understood this history as time passes. I believe the world will be grappling with the tragedy of 9/11 and Americas reaction to the attack for generations to come. Shes on the board of directors of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which describes itself as helping to defend and support journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and lawbreaking in government. Her fellow board members include foundation cofounder Daniel Ellsberg of 1970s Pentagon Papers fame and the Guardians Greenwald, who interviewed Snowden for the online videos. Poitras joined the foundation in part because she felt her own journalism was being chilled by the fact that his surveillance had happened to her. . Shes suffered at the hands of unnecessary and overbearing government surveillance herself, said Trevor Timm, foundation executive director and cofounder. officials here and abroad. Ive actually lost count of how many times Ive been detained at the border, but I think its around 40 times, she said in an April 2012 appearance on Democracy Now!, an independent news program that airs on public broadcasting TV and radio stations and elsewhere. When she was questioned by Department of Homeland Security officials in London around that time, I told them I was a journalist and my work was protected and I wasnt going to discuss it, she said on the news program. Customs and Border Protection said it is prohibited from discussing cheap michael kors watches specific cases due to privacy laws. citizens returning from foreign travel cannot be denied entry into the country and are not considered detained unless theres an outstanding warrant for their arrest. Travelers can be referred for further inspection for a variety of reasons to include identity verification, intent of travel, and confirmation of admissibility, the agency said. She was incredibly patient with the process until the people who were questioning her started to imply it didnt matter if she would answer or not: they would get their answers electronically, said her colleague, Johnson. For Poitras, that was a deep infringement, she said. An interview request emailed this week to Poitras New Yorkbased Praxis Films generated what appeared to be an automatic reply from her account: Im traveling and dont have regular email access. Thanks for your patience. Shes an incredibly warm person, softspoken, very smart, but shes a private person and doesnt like to be out in front of the camera, Timm said. She doesnt like to make the story about her. I can understand why shes been hesitant to talk. In online interviews given before the surveillance story broke, Poitras comes across as lowkey and cautious despite her willingness to put herself at risk for her work. In a 2010 clip posted by the New York Times she recounts how the prospect of meeting with bin Ladens former bodyguard in Yemen came with danger flashing signs. And while she is dogged in her pursuit of information that doesnt mean she has an agenda, said Kilmurry of POV. I think shes really driven by curiosity about the issues in which she gets involved rather than having a particular perspective or narrative at the end, he said. Shes open to where the story takes her and having her own perspective challenged or changed, a cheap michael kors watches s she hopes the audience is, too. Johnson, who is working with Poitras on her final Sept. 11 film about surveillance and whistleblowers, cant predict when it will be finished. Theres no timeline. Thats whats remarkable about her. She really does let the story lead her, Johnson said. Caldwell in Washington contributed to this report. cheap michael kors watches