NSA leaker Edward Snowden mini-movie gets big play on YouTube

Published: Tuesday, July 2 2013 10:30 a.m. MDT

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Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden may still be holed up in a Moscow airport and desperately seeking political asylum as of Monday morning, but a new five-minute amateur film about Snowden’s time in Hong Kong titled “[Verax]” is already available for viewing on YouTube and is drawing broad coverage from diverse media outlets.

“(On June 11) freelance videographer Edwin Lee contacted a few friends about shooting a short film about the maelstrom swirling around Snowden in (Hong Kong),” CNN’s Alexis Lai wrote Monday. “The five-minute film was shot over four days, Lee said, describing it as a ‘foot-on-the-gas’ guerrilla operation. The script was mostly written the day before shooting and actors had no rehearsal time, he added. Yet the final product is surprisingly suspenseful and sophisticated, with gorgeous time-lapse panoramas of the city and ‘shaky cam’ shots reminiscent of Hollywood.”

“Working at lightning speed, four friends produced a short movie based on the National Security Agency leaker (Snowden’s) time in the city and the scramble to locate him,” the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. “The result is ‘[Verax],’ a five-minute film that imagines what might have happened as the CIA, China’s Ministry of State Security and a Hong Kong reporter tried to track down Snowden, who declared on June 9 that he was the source of leaked documents disclosing sensitive details about the NSA’s surveillance programs.”

“It's hard to think anyone could do better than this collective did in just four days of filming,” National Journal’s Matt Berman wrote Monday. “And no doubt others will throw millions of dollars at this plot within a few years to try. But even with four days and about a $540 budget, this is going to be a stiff baseline to top. No matter how hard Jerry Bruckheimer, Oliver Stone (or) Michael Bay try.”

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