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James Clapper

In 'Citizenfour,' Laura Poitras feels heat of telling Snowden's story

The word "risky" is thrown around often in the film world, usually when personalities embark on a new direction or a commercially challenging project.

But Oscar-nominated director Laura Poitras faced a different type of hazard with her latest film, "Citizenfour": the possibility of arrest, attack and harassment.

The filmmaker, after all, was making a documentary about one of the most-wanted fugitives: secret-spilling National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

"I'd worked in conflict zones, and there's a kind of fear there," Poitras, who has made movies in places such as Iraq and Yemen, said in an interview Saturday. "But this...