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The story, including its cat-and-mouse aftermath, adds the intricate excitement of a thriller to righteous historical outrage.
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1971

Forty years before WikiLeaks and the NSA scandal, there was Media, Pennsylvania.

In 1971, eight activists plotted an intricate break-in to the local FBI offices to leak stolen documents and expose the illegal surveillance of ordinary Americans in an era of anti-war activism. In this riveting heist story, the perpetrators reveal themselves for the first time, reflecting on their actions and raising broader questions surrounding security leaks and activism today.

“Reaction to the film at Tribeca has been effusive, both from audiences and critics. At the first screening…the thunderous ovations for the…subjects of the film were extraordinary.” – Forbes

“1971 crafts a thrilling lesson about how authoritarianism can be curbed, sometimes, by one simple and well-targeted blow.” – PopMatters

“Their story is both a cat-and-mouse thriller, told in well-handled reenactments, and an examination of the abuses of government power that could hardly be timelier.” – The Wrap

Synopsis: The FBI was unaccountable and untouchable until 1971, when a group of ordinary citizens uncovered its illegal domestic spying programs. On March 8, 1971, The Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI, as they called themselves, broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, took every file, and shared them with the American public.

These actions exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI's illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans and helped lead to the country's first Congressional investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Never caught, forty-three years later, these everyday Americans – parents, teachers and citizens – publicly reveal themselves for the first time and share their story in the documentary “1971."

Given the recent disclosures of NSA spying, this story could not be more relevant.

“1971” debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival 2014 and recently won the ABCNews VideoSource Award at the 30th Annual IDA Documentary Awards.

Played at

Music Hall, 3.13.15 - 3.19.15
Rated NR
Genre: Documentary, History
Runtime: 80 min
Language: English

Director: Johanna Hamilton
FEATURED REVIEW: Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
It was the night of the "Fight of the Century," March 8, 1971 - Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier going 15 rounds in Madison Square Garden, millions hunkered in front of TVs and radios. But not eight young activists in Media, just outside Philadelphia. This group of college-age ...