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Julian Assange documentary to air in the US

April 10, 2017

Oscar-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras’ long-awaited documentary film on controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will make its television debut in the United States.

WikiLeaks CIA - Julian Assange
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo

Cable network Showtime, in partnership with Neon distribution, said on Sunday it will release the Laura Poitras documentary "Risk," the inside story of Julian Assange, the world's most notorious whistleblower. 

It's the American director's first film since "Citizen Four," her intimate portrayal of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that won her an Academy Award. She made "Citizen Four" in Berlin due to fear that American authorities would confiscate her footage.

Laura Poitras recieves the Carl von Ossietzky medal in Berlin in 2014
Laura Poitras recieves the Carl von Ossietzky medal from the International League for Human Rights in Berlin, 2014Image: picture-alliance/dpa/W. Krumm

Six years in the making, "Risk” will initially be released in cinemas before premiering on the small screen in the US a few months later.

Though an unfinished version of "Risk” screened at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and garnered positive reviews, the final cut of the film also takes an up-close look at Assange and his Wikileaks inner circle during the 2016 US presidential election, when the whistleblower leaked thousands of Democratic National Committee documents and emails that some say may have influenced the vote.

"With unprecedented access, Poitras gives us the WikiLeaks story from the inside, allowing viewers to understand our current era of massive leaks, headline-grabbing news, and the revolutionary impact of the internet on global politics," said Showtime, as quoted by AFP.

"'Risk' is a portrait of power, principles, betrayal, and sacrifice when the stakes could not be any higher. It is a first-person geopolitical thriller told from the perspective of a filmmaker immersed in the worlds of state surveillance and the cypherpunk movement."

Assange has been in asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. He says he does not want to be sent to Sweden to be questioned in regard to rape allegations - which he denies -, believing he will be extradited to the US and imprisoned for his work with Wikileaks.

Stuart Braun | DW Reporter
Stuart Braun Berlin-based journalist with a focus on climate and culture.