Cannes: Laura Poitras Executive Producing Chelsea Manning Doc 'XY Chelsea'

Chelsea Manning-Screen shot-H 2016
Courtesy of Twitter/Chelsea Manning

The documentary comes from Pulse Films, with footage being screened to buyers in Cannes.

On the day of Chelsea Manning's historic release from prison, a new documentary about the famed whistle-blower has been unveiled.

XY Chelsea is being directed by British filmmaker Tim Travers Hawkins (1000 Voices) and executive produced by Oscar winner Laura Poitras (Citizenfour, Risk), with the filmmakers having exclusive rights to Manning's story and having had unprecedented access to her team for two years as they fought for her release. 

The film comes from rising banner Pulse Films and was developed and produced by its CEO Thomas Benski alongside Julia Nottingham and is being unveiled to buyers in Cannes by Submarine, which will be showing footage at a special screening. 

Poitras exec produces XY Chelsea alongside Field of Vision's Charlotte Cook, together with the Mary Burke from the British Film Institute (which co-financed the project) and First Look Media's Michael Bloom and Adam Pincus. The film is receiving additional support from Faliro House, Sharon Chang and Blaine Vess and was developed by the BFI, with additional finance from the Sundance Documentary Fund and Catapult Film Fund.

“Chelsea Manning’s story is one of the major events of our time, covering a wide range of themes from transgender rights to surveillance to the very nature of core democratic principles," said Nottingham, head of documentary at Pulse. "It’s an incredibly ambitious film that will be eye-opening. We could not be more excited to be working with Tim Travers Hawkins and Laura Poitras on this project, which perfectly embodies the sort of smart, cinematic documentary Pulse is becoming known for.”

Added Hawkins: "When I first wrote to Chelsea at the military prison in Kansas, she could not be filmed, nor could I communicate with her in any way other than through letters. Regardless, I believed it was imperative to find a creative way to engage with her life and story. Now, with Chelsea emerging from confinement, the journey of this film has reached its most historic and exciting moment."

Submarine, which is overseeing worldwide sales in Cannes, also handled the sales of Poitras’ Citizenfour and Risk.