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South Texas could get a dose of 'Reality' as film about local whistleblower hits the big screen

The film is based on a Broadway play and focuses on the day Kingsville resident Reality Winner was questioned by the FBI and accused of espionage.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Reality Winner, the woman with the unusual name, is back in the spotlight nearly six years after being accused of espionage. 

Winner is now the subject of a new film.

"Reality" was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival over the weekend. It stars Sydney Sweeny, who is best known for her role as Cassie on HBO’s "Euphoria."

 Winner's mother, Billie Winner-Davis, just returned from seeing the screening.

“People are going to want to see this film, and when they see the film, they're going to want to know more about Reality, and they're going to want to know more about who she is, what she did, what she did for our country, what she did to secure our elections," she said.

Reaity Winner is a South Texas native who was arrested in 2017 for leaking an intelligence report labeled 'Top Secret' to the media about Russian interference in U.S. elections. 

Winner -- who served six years in the United States Air Force and later worked in Atlanta, Georgia, for a national-security contractor -- was then given the longest sentence ever imposed on a civilian for leaking classified information to the media.

She eventually was charged and convicted under the Espionage Act of 1917. 

She was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison. However, she was released from prison in 2021 for good behavior, and is on probation until November 2024.

The film is based on a play that ran briefly on Broadway, and focuses on the day Reality Winner was first questioned by the FBI.

Billie said it is a fair portrayal of exactly what happened.

“It’s 100 percent accurate, because they used the transcript and they didn't alter it or change it in any way," she said. "So you get to hear every word, every cough, every sound, every dog bark. They went line by line of the transcript of the interrogation."

Billie told 3NEWS that distributors are currently deciding whether to carry the movie, and that she is hoping to have the filmmakers bring it to South Texas.

She also says that this is not the only movie about her daughter, and that a second film has already been shot and is in post-production, which will include actresses Emilia Jones and Connie Britton.

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