Laura Poitras

Revealing portrayal of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Oscar-winning director Laura Poitras (Citizenfour) follows Assange for six years. What initially started out as a positive documentary about a visionary, historical figure changes along the way into a character study of a narcissistic man who loves to expose sensitive matters of other people, but lashes out fiercely when he is under critical scrutiny himself.

For six years, Poitras has unlimited access to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his team. During this time, she films the rise of the man and his online platform up close: from leaking secret government documents up to Assange’s flight to the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Poitras is initially an admirer, but relations with her subject turn sour over time. After being accused of sexual assault, Assange speaks rather condescendingly on film about the women accusing him. When the filmmaker works with whistle-blower Edward Snowden to expose the ins and outs of the NSA through regular media, Assange is furious. He distances himself from the film; the director is no longer welcome. After a first release in Cannes in 2016, Poitras decides to edit the film again, presenting an entirely new and more critical film a year later.

Risk is part of the Festival Favorites theme programme.


Laura Poitras
Country of production
Germany, United States
92 minutes
Spoken language
Arabic, English, Spanish
Production company
Praxis Films Berlin
World Sales