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Director 'Crude' under pressure

July 27, 2010

Movies that Matter Festival film Crude of director Joe Berlinger is currently the subject of a legal battle with Chevron. Crude focusses on the Chernobyl disaster of the Amazone: the many years of dumping waste oil in one of the world's largest wildlife areas. The oil company, which is now part of Chevron, declines all responsibility, however.


Besides Chevron Berlinger is also in a lawsuit with the judge who has subpoenaed the Crude filmmakers to officially present the nearly 600 hours of raw footage accumulated during the production. The Crude attorneys argued that the film footage is protected by the journalist's privilege, and forcing filmmakers to hand it over to any third party is a violation of the US First Amendment rights. But on May 6, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled in Chevron's favor, creating a frightening precedent that the Crude team and many colleagues - from Bill Moyers to Michael Moore - agree will endanger independent documentary filmmaking in the world's leading film producing country.

The fight is extraordinarily costly. Joe Berlinger has contributed a significant amount of his personal funds towards this case, but now Crude needs to raise substantial additional funds for the appeals process. As the third-largest corporation in America, Chevron has far more financial resources at its disposal. Crude therefore started a fundraising campaign accompanied by various means to raise awareness for this important issue. Should you wish to learn more or make a donation, please click here.

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