UPDATED: Laura Poitras’ Julian Assange doc heads to Cannes

Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail has also signed on to exec produce Risk (pictured), one of two docs set to screen as part of the festival's Directors' Fortnight sidebar.
April 19, 2016

Laura Poitras‘ documentary about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has joined this year’s Cannes Film Festival line-up.

Set to screen in the festival’s Directors’ Fortnight sidebar, Risk (pictured) is the feature-length follow-up to Citizenfour, her 2014 Oscar-winning doc about National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Poitras previewed the film – previously billed as a doc series – at the New York Film Festival last fall under the title Asylum, alongside a collection of shorts commissioned for her Field of Vision film unit.

Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail has also signed on to exec produce Risk, which was produced by Praxis Films in association with First Look Media and Field of Vision. David Menschel, AJ Schnack, Charlotte Cook, and the film’s global sales agent Josh Braun are also exec producing.

Poitras shot the film over five years while embedded with Assange and his Wikileaks team of technologists, reporters and volunteers. In a statement, Esmail called the doc “a fresh take on the renegades, the cypherpunks, the risk takers.”

Risk is one of two docs playing in the Directors’ Fortnight program. The other is French director Sébastien Lifshitz’s Les Vies de Thérèse, about the late French women’s rights activist Thérèse Clerc.

She previously featured in his doc about elderly LGBT people, Les Invisibles, which won the César Award for Best Documentary Film in 2013.

Other docs set to screen at Cannes this year include Gimme Danger, Jim Jarmusch’s doc portrait of rocker Iggy Pop, as well as Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Hissein Habré: A Chadian Tragedy. Cambodian director Rithy Panh, noted for such docs as The Missing Picture and S21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine, is at the festival with his feature film Exil.

The Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 11 to 22.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor-in-chief and content director for Realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to Realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.