Snowden film CitizenFour wins top documentary award

The award follows the film’s best documentary win at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards this week.

Karen Snowden, director Laura Poitras, and Lonnie Snowden attend The World Premiere of The Radius/Participant/HBO Documentrary Films ‘Citizen Four’ at the New York Film Festival at Alice Tulley Hall. Picture: AFP.

LOS ANGELES -_ CitizenFour_, filmmaker Laura Poitras's documentary about National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, was given the top award for best feature by the International Documentary Association on Friday.

The IDA award for CitizenFour follows the film's best documentary win at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards this week. It was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award last month and is among 15 films advancing in the Oscars best documentary race.

CitizenFour gives a fly-on-the-wall account of Snowden's tense days in a Hong Kong hotel and encounters with journalists as newspapers published details of NSA programs that gathered data from the Internet activities and phone records of millions of Americans and dozens of world leaders.

US filmmaker Poitras shared a Pulitzer Prize this year for her role in publicizing the Snowden documents. She was awarded IDA's Courage Under Fire award last year for her "conspicuous bravery in the pursuit of truth."

The IDA, a 30-year-old non-profit organisation that aims to support documentary films and culture, also bestowed honours on veteran actor-filmmaker and Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford, who was given the career achievement award.

Cable network Showtime's Time of Death was named best limited series, while best short documentary went to HBO Films' Tashi and the Monk, about a Buddhist monk and his 5-year-old charge Tashi.

Last year's IDA best feature winner, Jehane Noujaim's The Square, was nominated for an Oscar this year, losing out to 20 Feet From Stardom.