Sag Harbor Cinema and Hamptons Doc Fest are joining forces to commemorate trailblazing documentary producer Diane Weyrmann with a special screening of CITIZENFOUR on December 5th at 7:30 pm, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Laura Poitras moderated by SHC’s Artistic Director Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan.
Weyermann —who will be awarded Hamptons Doc’s first ever Producer Impact Award— was the visionary force behind some of the most influential documentaries in recent history. As the engine of Participant Media’s documentary output, Weyermann had a major role in defining the company’s blend of social commitment, entertainment and artistic ambition. A consummate producer with a passion for human rights and great storytelling instincts, Weyermann worked closely with filmmakers. Among the most outstanding titles in her filmography are: An Inconvenient Truth (2006), directed by Davis Guggenheim; Laura Poitras’ CITIZENFOUR (2014); Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow; Errol Morris’ The Unknown Known, Victor Kossakovsky’s Aquarela; Alexander Nanau’s Collective; Steve James’ City So Real; and Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s American Factory (2019), from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions.
Prior to her tenure at Participant Media, Weyermann founded and directed the Soros Documentary Fund and was the director of Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, where she launched annual labs for editing, storytelling, and composing, as well as helped build a community of filmmakers. Weyermann passed away last month at 66.
“Diane was a profound inspiration and a friend. Her visionary approach to the documentary form matched her passion for humanity and her devotion to the stories that need to be told. Few people in the last twenty years did what Diane did to bring documentaries to a wider audience and to cinemas. She believed that film can change the world for the better. I had the fortune of working with her on a few occasions. The dedication and creativity she brought to the filmmakers she was working with was a joy to witness, which is why I am so very happy that one of her closest collaborators, Laura Poitras, will join us to celebrate Diane through a screening of CITIZENFOUR,” says Sag Harbor Cinema’s Artistic Director, Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan.
“We are so pleased to welcome Diane’s sister, Andrea Weyermann, to the festival to accept our first-ever Producer Impact Award in Diane’s name. We had planned this award for Diane from the very start, and, although she is no longer with us, we want to honor her brilliant work as a creative, ground-breaking producer and story-teller – and as a true friend and mentor to so many in the documentary world,” says Hamptons Doc Festival’s Artistic Director Karen Arikian.
Citizenfour had a profound impact on the way Edward Snowden’s story was told, pivoting away from a sensationalized narrative promoted by many media outlets. It also provided an accessible explanation of American and Western surveillance. As The Washington Post put it, “The action is perilously real and the camera isn’t only capturing the historical event it’s part of the making of it.”
Dir. Laura Poitras
USA, 2014; 113 mins, in English
After directing two films (My Country, My Country and The Oath) of an intended trilogy on post-9/11 America, Laura Poitras receives encrypted emails from an anonymous source going by “Citizenfour.” The emails urge Poitras and another journalist, Glenn Greenwald, to meet in Hong Kong with the promise of information about America’s National Security Agency’s overreaching policies on surveillance. Expecting the source to remain anonymous, Greenwald and camera-wielding Poitras find Edward Snowden, who surprises them with a wealth of insider information and a plan to go public for the sake of the story’s credibility. What follows is a real life political thriller unfolding in front of Poitras’ unobtrusive, yet astute, lens. Citizenfour won the Academy Award for best documentary and revealed to the general public the extensive data covertly collected by the US government.