I've been in deep admiration of Oscar winning documentary film director and producer Laura Poitras for quite some time now. Probably since reading in Glenn Greenwald's book No Place To Hide that she was instrumental in connecting the journalist with truth seeker Edward Snowden -- whom Greenwald dismissed at first, put off by his online avatar "Cincinnatus" -- but also played a constant, unrelenting role in the telling of this tale of modern day courage. Poitras has been harassed for this, and probably dismissed, the worst thing that a woman, a filmmaker, an artist can endure, while carrying on this mission -- to tell the truth.
Thankfully, today I'm in great company. By bestowing on Poitras the coveted Oscar for her documentary Citizenfour about the meeting between Greenwald and Snowden, the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures showed the world they too believe in the truth. And they will celebrate it, by giving her the top prize any filmmaker can hope for.
This of course hasn't slowed down Poitras any. On The Intercept, a website founded by Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media and co-edited by her along with Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, Laura Poitras is currently showing the story of three graffiti artists who finally brought into the light the reason I have never watched a single episode of Homeland.
Homeland Is Not a Series is a quick, interesting, quirky and insightful look at what has come to be known as "The Homeland Incident," showing now on Field of Vision. Three street artists, Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Don Karl, known as "The Arabian Street Artists" were hired to make the sets look more authentic through Arabic graffiti, but instead hacked the set of the series in Berlin and wrote on the walls such beauties as "Homeland is racist" and my personal favorite, pictured above, "Homeland is watermelon" (Arabic slang for something not to be taken seriously). No one ever noticed... Until of course, it was too late.
A personal bit of advice, take a deep breath before you watch the seven-minute online video. It may ruin a beloved series for you but it will show you what the world looks like from the other side.
Field of Vision is a journalism film unit co-created by Poitras, AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook. It pairs filmmakers with stories around the world, to create content that shows and inspires, instead to the usual news, which can at times only tell one version of the whole tale.
All images and video courtesy of Field of Vision, used with permission.