Fact Meets Fiction

Say what you will about Edward Snowden, the former CIA agent and United States government contractor who fled the country after leaking National Security Agency information to journalists.

Every week on Geekology, I take a closer look at what’s happening in the geek world. The opinions expressed in Geekology articles are mine and mine alone. Blame me, everyone. Blame me.

Snowden Live

To some, he’s a whistleblower. To others, like legendary pilot Chuck Yaeger, he’s a traitor.


Whatever your particular thoughts on the man, Snowden and his leakage of sensitive government secrets had a tremendous affect on the United States. On the one hand, conspiracy theorists who believed the government was spying on its citizens had their suspicions somewhat validated. For everyone else, the leak threw several stories out into the court of public opinion. Questions were asked, opinions debated.

Amongst the questions: If the government was indeed spying on its citizens, what else was it doing behind the scenes? Is national security worth giving up personal freedoms?

When Oliver Stone’s Snowden releases September 16, 2016, moviegoers will get to see Stone’s version of the man along with a retelling of events that will measure somewhere on the bias meter.

But those who want to hear directly from Snowden himself will have one opportunity to tune into a live (or pre-recorded in some time zones) interview between Snowden and Stone.

On Wednesday, September 14, select theaters in conjunction with Fathom Events will play a sneak preview of the movie along with a 45-minute interview session that will have Snowden calling in from Russia where he’s been granted three years of asylum.

This is where reality meets fiction — in a way. One of my creative writing professors once said that anything committed to paper automatically becomes fiction regardless of whether it was a “true story” or not. A writer recalling memories or detailing a perspective is limited to being able to what they know.

I don’t know that I agree with that line of thought completely, but I do see her point. When I write a story or even put together a review, the challenge lies in telling the reader exactly what they need to know within the space I’ve been given. Striking that balance of restraint and information is hard to do, and it’s up to the reader to determine whether it worked or not. I think my professor’s reasoning lies in whether a sentence or set of phrases can actually capture the wholeness of a truth. In the case of a biopic or biography, it’s a matter of doing research and interviewing as many people possible. It’s about getting sources, and understanding the timeline of things. And even then, when all is said in done, is it completely truthful or just a shade of what actually happened?

I’m curious to see how Snowden’s interview will go. Will Stone lob softball questions that net bunted answers? Even if Snowden was put brutally to task for what he did, and assuming he answers truthfully, will his truth be an accurate retelling of what happened or just a version of the events?

The Snowden leak is a major event in American history, and the magnitude of its importance is still being realized. If he ever returns home, I wonder if he will be welcomed as a hero or a villain. Stone’s movie may have a hand in swaying people in one direction or another, but the biggest question on Wednesday night will be: What is the truth?

For tickets, head to the Snowden Live Fathom Events page.

Press Release:

Date: Wednesday, September 14

Time: LIVE at 7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT and Tape-delayed to 7:30 p.m. MT, PT

Run Time: 2 hours 15 minutes (approximate) with 45 minute interview with Edward Snowden.

Ticketing: Tickets are available by clicking on the orange “Buy Tickets” button. If online ticketing is not available for your location, you can purchase your tickets by visiting the box office at your local participating cinema.

Special Fathom Feature: Exclusive sneak preview of Academy Award® winner Oliver Stone’s political thriller, Snowden, followed by a LIVE Q&A conducted by Oliver Stone with Edward Snowden from Moscow.

Fathom Events and Open Road Films are thrilled to present a special one-night event, Snowden Live, in select cinemas nationwide on Wednesday, September 14 LIVE at 7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT and tape-delayed 7:30 p.m. MT and PT.

Snowden Live gives audiences the opportunity to hear directly from the man who inspired the film and the filmmaker who brought his story to life during an exclusive live interview between Edward Snowden (via satellite in Moscow) and Oliver Stone (live from New York City). The live interview will immediately follow the advanced showing of Snowden on the big screen.

In the biographical political thriller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is cast in the title role as the one-time former CIA employee who famously leaked classified information to the media. The film also stars Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Scott Eastwood, Logan Marshall-Green, Timothy Olyphant, Ben Schnetzer, LaKeith Lee Stanfield, Rhys Ifans and Nicolas Cage. Snowden is directed by Oliver Stone and written by Stone and Kieran Fitzgerald. It is based on the books “The Snowden Files” by Luke Harding and “Time of the Octopus” by Anatoly Kucherena.

This film is not yet rated. Bonus content not rated.

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