Well, that was fast.
I humorously pondered earlier this week that a movie based on Edward Snowden’s life would be eventually made. Little did I know that a group of Hong Kong filmmakers would join forces to make a five minute short film about Snowden’s leaking of NSA documents and his run from a U.S. embarrassed by the revelations.
Here’s the details of the film:
We are a band of independent and amateur filmmakers in Hong Kong who were both excited and puzzled as to why Snowden chose to come to Hong Kong. While nearly every media outlet wanted to get their hands on him, we decided to produce a short fictional video to depict his experience in HK, and how it would have affected certain parties: Namely, the CIA contingent based in HK who would be tasked to find Snowden. The Hong Kong Police who would be stuck in between the US and China. And the journalists who want to get the scoop. It was also important for us not to ‘twist’ Snowden’s character. We really knew little about him. Although he is a central character, he is not the most prominent. It is more about the maelstrom of events surrounding him.
The idea was hatched two days after he revealed his identity, and principal filming began on June 20th. We were also filming on the same day (23rd) when we learned Snowden had left the city. Therefore we ramped up production efforts and published our short film ‘Verax’ on the 25th. ‘Verax’ was the alias Snowden used when contacting journalists via encrypted chat services. We loved the idea of having Snowden here and the media frenzy it created. We really wanted to make a film based on such real-life news events, especially as it continued to develop. This project really tested our mettle especially when most of us had day jobs.
The filmmakers note that they only made this for fun, and that they’re not trying to make a statement. They also say that they have never met Snowden and that this is a purely fictitious account of the events surrounding Showden’s coming out as the NSA leaker.
Besides some bad acting from the CIA agents, it’s actually a pretty good short film. The choice to make the film more about the people around Snowden instead of the man himself makes it’s a much better film overall.