Laura Poitras

New York, NY

Laura Poitras is a documentary filmmaker who won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for Citizenfour. She won an Independent Spirit Award for My Country, My Country, which was released in the U.S. by Zeitgeist Films and broadcast on PBS’s P.O.V. Both My Country, My Country and her Creative Capital project The Oath are part of a trilogy titled “The New American Century,” about post-9/11 America. Poitras is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and Peabody Award. Before making documentaries, she worked as a professional chef. Poitras lives in New York City and teaches documentary filmmaking at Yale University.

The Oath

Laura Poitras

Artist Bio

The Oath is a cross-cut tale of two men propelled on divergent courses with Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo Bay Prison and the U.S. Supreme Court. Abu Jandal is a taxi driver in Sana’a, Yemen; his brother-in-law Salim Hamdan is a Guantanamo prisoner and the first man to face the controversial military tribunals. Jandal and Hamdan’s intertwined personal trajectories—how they became bin Laden’s bodyguard and driver, respectively—act as prisms that serve to explore and contextualize a world that has confounded Western media. As Hamdan’s trial progresses, his military lawyers challenge fundamental flaws in the court system. The charismatic Jandal dialogues with his young son, Muslim students and journalists, and chillingly unveils the complex evolution of his belief system post-9/11. The Oath offers a rare window into a realm too long misunderstood—and the international impact of the U.S. War on Terror.

Award Year