The doc, which is co-directed by journalist Henrik Moltke, pairs narration of top-secret National Security Agency documents by actors Rami Malek and Michelle Williams with images of the windowless AT&T ‘Long Lines’ building in Lower Manhattan.
The NSA documents detail instructions to employees on how to travel undercover on U.S. soil as well as a top-secret New York City surveillance site codenamed TITANPOINTE.
The AT&T building was designed in the 1960s by architect John Carl Warnecke, who dubbed the structure “Project X.” According to the filmmakers, the nuclear-proof skyscraper allegedly housed NSA surveillance programs that targeted the communications of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and 38 countries, including U.S. allies such as Germany, Japan and France.
Beginning Nov. 18, Project X will play at New York’s IFC Center where it will screen three times a day for a week and before a feature film. It will then premiere online via Poitras’ Field of Vision site in the coming weeks.
“What does it feel like to be a spy? How do they move in the world? What do they tell their families?” Poitras said in a statement. “These are questions Henrik and I want to bring to life in Project X. Rami and Michelle are two of the most daring and exciting actors working today, and it was a thrill to collaborate with them.”
Poitras and Moltke previously worked together to report on the documents given to Poitras by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. Poitras’ doc feature about the Snowden revelations, Citizenfour , won the Oscar for best documentary in 2015.
Moltke has also teamed with journalist Ryan Gallagher of investigative news site The Intercept to write an article entitled TITANPOINTE – NSA’s New York spy hub, hidden in plain sight. The story is based on previously unpublished classified documents disclosed by Snowden.
“We wanted to translate the documents into a story that is understood not only journalistically but also viscerally,” Moltke said. “And we wanted to present this experience alongside a piece of deeply-researched, old-fashioned reporting.”
Field of Vision’s third season also features docs by Elizabeth Lo and Hito Steyerl, among others, and the the launch of Anders Sømme Hammer‘s four-part series about militias and foreign fighters battling Isis in Iraq and Syria.