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Oliver Stone: You can be critical of your government

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Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Oliver Stone is calling on young filmmakers to take a stand — even if that means standing against the government.

While accepting a career achievement award during the 26ths Gotham Independent Film Awards on Monday night, Stone called on up-and-coming filmmakers who are “struggling to be independent and stay independent.”

“I want to remind you that you can be critical, you can be critical of your government, and we’ve forgotten that,” said the Snowden director. “The 1970s can come back if you embody that in your own work. So don’t go easy on what you think is wrong. Think internationally. There are other values beside echo bowl that we have built.”

Stone went on to offer a warning, citing the NSA whistleblower and subject of his most recent film, Edward Snowden. “Mr. Snowden said very clearly that the mechanism is in place now so that when there is another terror attack, which inevitably there probably will be in this country, if there is another terror attack, the next president, whomever he may be, will have the authority to really close down the system in a way that’s much more oppressive than it’s ever been. The surveillance state, 1984, cyberwarfare, drone warfare is with us. This is a major, major issue in our time. I hope you young people will not forget this. Please address it.”

Prior to Snowden‘s release in September, Stone told USA Today that he supported neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump for president. “These candidates have not talked about cyberwarfare and Snowden. They are staying away from it,” he said. “What kind of election is this? … It’s trivial, superficial.”

He also said he hoped his film would cast a spotlight on the U.S. government’s own cyber attacks against foreign countries. “We need to think about what we are,” Stone said. “Let’s make America honest again.”