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Filmmakers look to crowdfunding for Snowden movie

Edward Snowden
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Edward Snowden

Two filmmakers have launched a $1.7 million crowdfunding drive to finance a movie about the life of whistleblower Edward Snowden, who revealed details of the United States' surveillance program.

Classified: The Edward Snowden Story will begin filming in January 2014 if the funding target is met by the October 1 deadline.

The two hour feature length film will follow Snowden's life from his desire to join the U.S. army through to his career in the government and secret service.

(Read more: US Spying a 'Slap in the Face': EU Lawmaker)

"This is not going to be a generalized debate about the morality of government surveillance. Instead this is one man's story about himself and his individual views," said director Jason Bourque in a YouTube clip to potential backers.

Those who want to back the film can pledge money at four price points through the film's website, ranging from $50 to have a credit in the film, to $50,000 to be an executive producer. Backers can also offer one-off contributions via Bitcoins and PayPal. The project has raised $20 so far.

Bourque explained that the need to crowdfund the film was to avoid the restrictions put on Hollywood movies financed by a big studio.

(Read More: US Bugged EU Offices, Hacked Into Its Computers)

"Given the nature of this film, we believe it can never be accurately portrayed with the restrictions implemented by a big budget studio," he said.

Travis Doering, the movie's producer, said that this crowdfunding drive would be different to others, because unlike most movies that use the money to produce the film and then distribute it for a mass profit, Classified: The Edward Snowden Story will be available to download for free.

The film is set to be released in September next year on the controversial website The Pirate Bay, the torrent website which has been involved in several copyright lawsuits and has released a browser to circumvent internet censorship on some webpages.

(Read more: Spare cash? Maybe you should back a Hollywood film)

Bourque and Doering said the script was written by a "very well-known writer" who wishes to remain anonymous, and is being reviewed by intelligence officials and people who know Snowden personally.

Three main characters have been cast. The Mortal Instruments actor Kevin Zegers will play Snowden, Stargate SG-1s's Michael Shanks stars as Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald who broke the National Security Agency spying story, and Endgame actress Carmen Aguirre plays documentary maker Laura Poitras.

Filmmakers Doering and Bourque reached out to Snowden via their YouTube clip and asked to speak with him to make the story as accurate as possible

—By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal: Follow him on Twitter @ArjunKharpal



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