The prize is bestowed upon films that "encourage those who persevere in acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice, or illuminate a more just vision of society,” and comes with a $10,00 stipend.
— CITIZENFOUR (@citizenfour) February 15, 2015
“Unforgettable and stunningly cinematic” is how the institute described the film, which focuses mainly on the relatively short period of time during which Edward Snowden had his first face-to-face meetings with journalists in a Hong Kong hotel room. It then follows him through the initial events following his leaks about mass NSA surveillance programs, his flight from Hong Kong, and his current exile in Russia.
— CITIZENFOUR (@citizenfour) February 14, 2015
"We're honored to receive this award, which recognizes a legacy of whistleblowers and adversarial journalism," director Laura Poitras said in response to the announcement. "This film and our NSA reporting would not have been possible without the work of the Free Software community that builds free tools to communicate privately. The prize money for the award will be given to the TAILS Free Software project."
The film is currently up for an Oscar for Best Documentary and has already garnered quite a few awards including Best Documentary at the BAFTAs and the Gotham Awards.
In addition to film and book awards the Ridenhour Prizes, organized by The Nation Institute, are given in two other categories as well: the Courage prize for lifelong achievement, the Truth Telling Prize for an individual whistleblower. Edward Snowden, the subject of “Citizenfour” won 2014’s Truth-telling prize along with Laura Poitras.
For those who have not yet seen the film, HBO has scheduled its television premiere for Feb. 23, the day after the Academy Awards. The Ridenhour Prize will be presented on April 29th.