RESISTANCE CINEMA Presents “CRUDE: The Real Price Of Oil” ENTENDRE FILMS PRODUCTION with RADICAL MEDIA & THIRD EYE MOTION PICTURES, A JOE BERLINGER FILM, Executive Producers Joe Berlinger, Liesl Copeland, Robert Friedman, Jon Kamen, (2009, 104 minutes)
WHEN: Sunday July 18, 2010 1:15 pm
WHERE: Community Church NYC Gallery Room, 28 East 35th St. @ Park Ave.
ADMISSION: Free, donations appreciated
While the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has riveted the nation’s attention on the risks and consequences of oil drilling, it has also brought to the fore the many legal questions of responsibility for environmental damages and placed in sharp focus the power of huge corporations and how they interact with government. In the case of the oil industry we’re dealing with huge multi national corporations with resources larger than many governments. Can their power be checked? What power do citizens actually have over their own land and way of life?
Three years in the making, this cinéma-vérité feature from acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger is the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial environmental lawsuits on the planet. The inside story of the infamous “Amazon Chernobyl” case, CRUDE is a real-life high stakes legal drama, set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures. Presenting a complex situation from multiple viewpoints, the film subverts the conventions of advocacy filmmaking, exploring a complicated situation from all angles while bringing an important story of environmental peril and human suffering into focus.
The landmark case takes place in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, pitting 30,000 indigenous and colonial rainforest dwellers against the U.S. oil giant Chevron. The plaintiffs claim that Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – spent three decades systematically contaminating one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, poisoning the water, air and land. The plaintiffs allege that the pollution has created a “death zone” in an area the size of the Rhode Island, resulting in increased rates of cancer, leukemia, birth defects, and a multiplicity of other health ailments. They further allege that the oil operations in the region contributed to the destruction of indigenous peoples and irrevocably impacted their traditional way of life. Chevron vociferously fights the claims, charging that the case is a complete fabrication, perpetrated by “environmental con men” who are seeking to line their pockets with the company’s billions.
The case takes place not just in a courtroom, but in a series of field inspections at the alleged contamination sites, with the judge and attorneys for both sides trudging through the jungle to litigate. The cameras rolled as the conflict raged in and out of court, and the case drew attention from an array of celebrities, politicians and journalists, and landed on the cover of Vanity Fair. Some of the film’s subjects sparked further controversy as they won a CNN “Hero” award and the Goldman Award, the environmental equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Shooting in dozens of locations on three continents and in multiple languages, Berlinger and his crew gained extraordinary access to players on all sides of the legal fight and beyond, capturing the drama as it unfolded while the case grew from a little-known legal story to an international cause célèbre. CRUDE focuses on the human cost of our addiction to oil and the increasingly difficult task of holding a major corporation accountable for its past deeds. While the initial technical assessment favors the people, the case is not finally concluded as Chevron uses its massive resources to fight back and has even opened a lawsuit against the filmmakers.