Competition: US & Canada
Filmmaker Laura Poitras was nominated for an Academy Award, Independent Spirit Award, and Emmy Award for My Country, My Country (2006), a documentary about the U.S. occupation of Iraq. My Country, My Country was released theatrically by Zeitgeist Films and was broadcast on the PBS series P.O.V. Her film Flag Wars (2003) was also aired on P.O.V.; it received a Peabody Award and was nominated for both an Emmy and an Independent Spirit Award. Flag Wars premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, where it won the jury prize for Best Documentary.
Her current project is Release (working title), a documentary about men released from Guantanamo Bay and returning home. Filmed in Yemen, Release is the second documentary in a trilogy entitled The New American Century about post-9/11 America. The first film of the trilogy documented the Iraq war. The final film will focus on domestic surveillance and warrantless wiretapping in the United States.
Ms. Poitras has received a 2008 Media Arts Fellowship from the Tribeca Film Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation. She was a Fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Storytelling/Edit Lab and Composers’ Lab with My Country, My Country, and returned to the Labs as a creative advisor in 2007 (Composers’ Lab) and 2008 (Storytelling and Edit Lab). Ms. Poitras’ work has received additional support from the Independent Television Service (ITVS), P.O.V./American Documentary, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the Jerome Foundation, Creative Capital, the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, and others.
Before making documentaries, Laura Poitras worked as a professional chef. She is currently a lecturer in film studies at Yale University. She lives in New York City.