Laura Poitras’ long-awaited Julian Assange documentary, “Risk,” has snagged a prime May theatrical release date, care of newbie distributor NEON. The film will be released in theaters on Friday, May 5, following a May 2 screening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual Art of The Real showcase, where it will play as a Special Closing Night screening.
“Risk” will open nationally in theaters across the country, including the IFC Center in New York, Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn, Arclight Hollywood, the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, Alamo Drafthouse New Mission in San Francisco, and the Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema and Landmark West End in DC.
Showtime Networks has partnered with NEON to release the film theatrically, with a television premiere on Showtime this summer also planned.
Poitras has been filming the project for over six years as a follow-up to her Academy Award-winning doc “Citizenfour,” which focused on the plight of whistleblower Edward Snowden. According to Showtime, “Risk” continued to lens through the 2016 presidential election, during which Assange and his WikiLeaks wound up playing a major role.
“Risk” first previewed footage at the New York Film Festival in the autumn 2015, later screening an early version of the film at Cannes in May of last year. That film was sympathetic to the embattled WikiLeaks creator and, at the time, IndieWire chief film critic Eric Kohn wrote that the film was “a series of snapshots that make the case for WikiLeaks as a serious newsgathering enterprise, the movie won’t win Assange new supporters, but certainly offers clarity to his organization by showing that they aren’t just messing round. Sympathizing with her subject and his radical activism, ‘Risk’ doesn’t deliver the engrossing thrills of ‘Citizenfour,’ but it nevertheless radiates with the same degree of urgency.”
The final version of the film will reportedly be far less kind to Assange, and a first trailer cast the material in a very new light.
Filmmaker Laura Poitras will be participating in Q&As in various cities across the country in support of the doc’s release. Additionally, as part of NEON’s continued commitment to short films, Josh Begley’s “Best of Luck With the Wall,” a voyage across the U.S.-Mexico border, will screen alongside “Risk.”