1971 Film Poster


The FBI was an unaccountable and untouchable government institution until 1971, when a group of ordinary citizens uncovered a range of illegal domestic spying programs being run by the bureau.  On March 8, 1971, a group of people calling themselves The Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, took every document on file there and then shared them with the American public.  This breach of security exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding American citizens and led to the country’s first Congressional investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies.  The group was never caught, but forty-three years later these everyday Americans – parents, teachers, citizens – publicly reveal themselves for the first time and share their story in the documentary 1971.

To view upcoming screening dates and locations, click here.

Director/Producer: Johanna Hamilton
Producers: Marilyn Ness, Kate Chevigny
Recreations Producer: Maureen A. Ryan
Executive Producers: Julie Goldman, Abigail E. Disney, Gini Reticker
Co-Executive Producers: Laura Poitras, Lilly Hartley, Gabriella P. Hearst
Editor: Gabriel Rhodes
Music By: Philip Sheppard

Tribeca Film Festival: 2014 Premiere
International Documentary Association: 2014 ABCNews VideoSource Award


1971 Film