Ready at last: Hong Kong director presents Snowden movie

Mira Hotel
Mira Hotel in Hong Kong, where Snowden was hiding and the movie was shot

While Hollywood is still mulling over the sensitive issue of producing a movie about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, a group of amateur film makers in Hong Kong has already managed to release a film, at least about the fugitive’s short stay in Hong Kong.

The movie, titled Verax, is just five minutes long and was produced in less than a week for under $600. Verax is the codename Snowden used to correspond with a Washington Post reporter. The term means “truth teller” in Latin.

Snowden is played by Andrew Cromeek, an American English teacher living in Hong Kong. The film was made by Hong Kong-based multimedia journalist Edwin Lee, a former writer for the South China Morning Post which published a couple of interviews with Snowden, and some of Lee’s expatriate friends.

The movie describes Snowden’s time hiding in a Hong Kong hotel room while the CIA and China’s Ministry of State Security unsuccessfully tried tracking him down.

The movie is staged in Hong Kong’s now-famous Mira Hotel, where Snowden was checked in during his time in Hong Kong.

Verax was uploaded on YouTube on June 25 and has been watched more than 140,000 times as of July 4.

Meanwhile, a who’s who of Hollywood’s progressive activists, including director Oliver Stone, as well as stars John Cusack and Danny Glover have joined a group of intellectuals petitioning Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa to grant political asylum to Snowden and demand he should be given protection from prosecution in the US.

Hollywood director Phillip Noyce, known for films such as Salt (starring Angelina Jolie) and Patriot Games (starring Harrison Ford) has expressed interest in making a more epic movie about Snowden and suggested actor Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) as main actor.