Chelsea Manning, the former US Army intelligence officer turned whistleblower, is ready for her closeup.
On the day of her expected release from a maximum-security military prison, director Tim Travers Hawkins (“1000 Voices”) announced production on Pulse Films’ feature documentary “XY Chelsea” with exclusive rights to Manning’s story.
The project, co-financed by the British Film Institute (BFI) and First Look Media’s Topic & Field of Vision, will be shopped in Cannes this week by Submarine’s Josh Braun.
Thomas Benski, Julia Nottingham and Lucas Ochoa developed and are producing the film for Pulse Films, with Laura Poitras (“Citizenfour”) and Field of Vision’s Charlotte Cook serving as executive producers, along with the BFI’s Mary Burke 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.
In 2010, Chelsea Manning was arrested and ultimately sentenced to serve 35 years at an all-men’s, maximum-security, military prison for leaking documents to WikiLeaks revealing information about the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was by far the longest sentence given to any whistleblower in U.S. history.
Since 2014, Hawkins has followed Chelsea Manning’s legal team as they fought for Chelsea’s release from prison, her medical treatment for gender dysphoria and for the military to recognize her as a trans woman. Following two suicide attempts in 2016, Chelsea and her team appealed to President Obama for a commutation of her sentence — which he granted on January 17.