I recently was able to see "Crude" at one of it's many film festival premieres. No, I wasn’t privy to the showing at Sundance Film Festival, or the Boston Film Festival, but I did make it to the San Francisco International Film Festival premiere. I was anticipating seeing "Crude" as it gives an unfiltered view of Chevron’s $27 billion lawsuit in Ecuador and because on all the great reviews that preceded the showing.
"Eye opening. It’s also so well made that it shouldn’t have any trouble getting theatrical distribution." FoxNews
"A remarkable documentary...Gripping...Intrinsically cinematic...The most urgent film I’ve seen at Sundance this year." LA Weekly
"A gripping account of corporate malfeasance, striking a good balance between ecological elegy and real-life legal thriller." Time Out London
"Rarely have such conflicts been examined with the depth and power of Joe Berlinger’s documentary Crude. These real characters and events play out on the screen like a sprawling legal thriller." New York Times
(Now this festival was a few months ago, but I wanted to talk about it now since the new trailer is out!) The house was packed, and by packed I mean sold out with activists, Chevron employees, community members, press, critics. People from all opinions came out to see the film that documents the consequences on Chevron’s operations in Ecuador. The audience was pretty indicative of the films tone, varied and broad. It’s no secret that this blog is one that tells the stories on the Ecuador communities living with Chevron’s toxic legacy, Chevrons media spin, lobby efforts, and overall slick dealings, however "Crude" is a bit different. It follows the trial and the plaintiffs lawyers, in also gives venue (over and over) to Chevron’s PR and law team. Granted, their arguments seem, how do I put this… false, incorrect, deflective, defensive, combative, (you get the picture) they are included over and over and seem to actually reinforce the idea that Chevron is now scrabbling after decades on pollution and procrastination. "Crude" lets the evidence be the most powerful voice in the film.
Regardless, the point of all this is to bring this story to a wider audience, and "Crude" does just that. We need to see these stories, and hear these voices. Our complacently in no way justifies Chevron’s toxic operations in Ecuador and around the world, but it does embolden them and help Chevron try to justify these operations.
Remember to go see "Crude" this fall!!
Premieres start: NYC Sep 9, LA Sep 18th, SF Sep 25 and DC Oct 23!
If you are interested in participating as an individual or organization in the Crude Engagement efforts please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Magel is Communications Manager at Amazon Watch. Prior to joining Amazon Watch, Nick was Director of the Freedom From Oil campaign at Global Exchange. Nick’s critiques of the US oil addiction have run in The New York Times, USA Today, and San Francisco Chronicle. Previously, Nick had worked on campaigns to stop new liquefied natural gas infrastructure on the west coast and developed climate based curricula for classrooms across the country. He received his MA in education from Lesley University.