CAMDEN, Maine — Laura Poitras is searching for a “game changer.”
The elections Tuesday proved that, despite trillions in war spending and fresh casualties on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans are paying little attention to foreign affairs. Exit polls found that only one in 10 voters considered the war in Afghanistan their top priority, and politicians — including President Obama — excised any mention of the conflict from their stump speeches.
Poitras, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who spent months documenting the grim details of life under occupation in Iraq, has lately been considering the question of what, exactly, will get Americans to rethink the way they engage the rest of the world. In an interview here at the Pop Tech conference, where she discussed her most recent film “The Oath,” about two former aides to Osama bin Laden, Poitras considered how American attitudes toward the wars have changed over time.
“I’ve been constantly wondering, ‘What’s the game-changer?’” Poitras said. “I still remember when the Abu Ghraib photographs hit the front page, and you almost fainted. I mean, it was sort of catastrophic. Simply shocking.”