In an unprecedented addition to the programme, a special presentation of Laura Poitras’ hitherto top secret Citizenfour has been slotted into the New York Film Festival and will screen on October 10.

The film will open theatrically on October 24 through RADiUS and is presented in association with Participant Media and HBO Documentary Films.

Citizenfour is described as a docu-thriller that resulted from a series of interviews conducted in Hong Kong by Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald with Snowden, the former NSA contractor whose leaks shed light on covert surveillance operations by US intelligence agencies.

The title derives from the name Snowden used to identify himself in a series of encrypted e-mails sent to Poitras in 2013, who at the time was working on a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11.

The film marks the finals in Poitras’ 9/11 trilogy after My Country, My Country and The Oath. Poitras will participate in a free HBO Directors Dialogues conversation on October 11 and free tickets will be distributed an hour prior to the talk.

“Seeing Citizenfour for the first time is an experience I’ll never forget,” said NYFF director Kent Jones. “The film operates on multiple levels at the same time: a character study (of Edward Snowden)… a real-life suspense story… and a chilling exposé.

“When the lights came up, everyone in the room was alternately stunned, excited, and deeply troubled. A brave documentary, but also a powerful work from a master storyteller.”

Citizenfour is likely to become a strong Oscar contender and marks the latest in RADiUS’ stable of non-fiction heavyweights after 20 Feet From Stardom won the Oscar earlier this year.

The festival is scheduled to run from September 26-October 12. Click here for further information.