Laura Poitras


Quick facts: 
Born 1964, Boston Massachusetts, USA
27 wins and 26 nominations
1 Directors Guild of America 2015
Awarded 1 Primetime Emmy award
Won 1 Oscar
- - -
Artist, Filmmaker & Journalist
- - -

"We´d rather take risks and learn from them if things don´t work, than not take risks. There´s no reason to not take risks."

Brief background 
Laura was born in Boston but now lives in New York working as a director and producer of documentary films. Her parents Patricia (Pat) and James (Jim) Poitras, donated in 2007 twenty million dollars to found The Poitras Centre for Affective Disorders Research. She has two sisters, Christine Poitras, which works as an ESL teacher and Jennifer Poitras a disaster response planner and consultant. Laura has won several awards for her work, such as the 2015 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for her latest film - Citizenfour

In-depth background
Growing up Laura did not plan on working within film or television industry. She actually wanted to become a chef, and she even spent several years as a cook at a French restaurant in Boston. It was not until she moved to San Francisco that she lost interest in becoming a chief. 

She then started to study at San Francisco Art Institute, working and studying with experimental filmmakers. In 1992, she decided to move to New York to pursue a film career at - The New School for Public Engagement - where she graduated from in 1996, with a bachelor degree. 

- - - 

"There is nothing I love doing more than filming - my camera is the tool that I use to see the world"

/ 2014 /

/ 2010 /

Flag Wars - / 2003 /

My Country, My Country - / 2006 / 

Responsibility & Consequences
To be one of the Americas most celebrated documentary-makers also brings a lot of responsibility and sometimes consequences. Making documentaries sending dispatches from the nation´s frontier zones, Iraq, Yemen and militarised cyberspace to mention some. 

It was Poitras reputation that inspired disaffected former CIA employee, Edward Snowden, to come in contact with her. After exchanging anonymous emails where he hinted at previously unimaginable levels of secret state monitoring. After months of sounding each other by encrypted correspondence, they met up in Hong Kong. 

Where Laura filmed him backing up his revelations and outing himself as a whistleblower. This resulted in her newest film "Citizenfour" which was named after Snowden´s online alias. A film she won an oscar for. Snowden however, immediately became one of the world's most wanted men. She was accused of being his collaborator and has been stopped and interrogated by US authorities dozens of times. To protect herself and her sources from around the world, she moved to Berlin. 

Art Exhibition 
Laura Poitras is a woman who keeps a lot of balls in the air at the same time, additionally to filmmaking she also makes time to be a journalist, winning a George Polk award for reporting, as well as her first solo art exhibition, at Manhatten´s Whitney Museum. 

In this way, Poitra´s is unique, as to how it is less common for documentary filmmakers to embrace  other styles or do work in other branches such as art or commercial features. Many doc makers don´t move from the film circuit to the more enclosed terrain of modern art. 

Astro Noise
Laura´s art show, that refers to an encrypted file Snowden gave to her, as well as the background disturbance of thermal radiation left over from the Big Bang. Astro Noise is a contrast to Poitras earlier work - it has more abstract and ambiguity to it. Laura was on Manhattan´s Upper West side when the planes hit the world trade centre in 2001 - which has been an inspiration for this exhibition. 

-It opens with six blown up photographs, it transcripts that they are reprocessed images from encrypted data hacked from Israeli drones. 
-In the next room is O´say Can You See, a two-sided video installation: one side shows slowed-down footage from New yorkers gazing at ground zero in the aftermath of 9/11. 
- The other side shows grainy images of two prisoners in Afghanistan, hoods over their heads, being interrogated by American soldiers.

The message is clear, everything that is seen in this show - art exhibition - is in some way a consequence of 9/11. 

"In film there´s a lot of time that´s that´s not creative, I´m keen to expand, to challenge myself in different ways"

What interested me
Laura interested me by the way she is so brave and determined to get people's stories out there, and constantly working to reveal or fabricate the reality and truth. She truly puts herself out there and is not even afraid to expose her own name or life to danger or threat. 

When it comes to how she has inspired my work on this project, in the way of always keeping in mind the importance of the truth. And that the truth and sometimes hidden reality should always shine through. To make sure that our documentary represents something of reality, presented in the rightful and most honorable way as possible. 

//All images from Google

//Sources of information

You may also like

No comments:

Television by Ida Frank. Powered by Blogger.