Official Secrets, Gavin Hood’s gripping retelling of the story of Katharine Gun, a British intelligence officer who leaked a confidential memo sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq, will screen as the Closing Night of the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival at the historic Castro Theatre on Sunday, April 21.
Based on the book The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War, director and screenwriter Gavin Hood’s (Tsotsi, Ender’s Game, Eye in the Sky) rousing and riveting new film tells the true story of whistleblower Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley at her most impassioned), a British woman working for UK’s intelligence service, monitoring foreign correspondence. Morally distressed by a confidential staff email about coercing small countries to vote for a UN Iraq War resolution, she leaks the email to the British press and, after her identity is revealed, she is charged with treason.
Keira Knightley’s subtly powerful performance as the whistleblower Gun shines light on the psychology of making ethical decisions. Accompanied by a powerhouse supporting cast that includes Matt Smith (Doctor Who, The Crown) as Guardian journalist Martin Bright, Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List, The English Patient), Matthew Goode (Stoker, The Imitation Game), and Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, Snowden), Official Secrets joins films like Vice (2018) and The Looming Tower (2018) to present the now undeniable case that the run-up to the Iraq War involved a disgraceful network of deception, coercion, and lies.
South African filmmaker Gavin Hood made his directorial debut in A Reasonable Man (1999), a film that won several All African Film Awards. Inspired by a true case in 1933 discovered during his time as a lawyer, Hood also wrote, produced, and starred in the film. In 2000, Variety named Hood as one of the “Ten Directors to Watch.” His film, Tsotsi (2005), won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He also directed In Desert and Wilderness (2001), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Ender’s Game (2013), and Eye in the Sky (2015).
IFC Films will be releasing Official Secrets in theaters August 2019.