On October 23rd, Crude made its debut in D.C. at the Landmark E Street Cinema. Crude, a documentary about the $27 billion dollar “Amazon Chernobyl” case, is making similar debuts across the nation in 2009. Here in Washington, viewers piled into the theater, even at the10:15 PM showing, only to be greeted by director Joe Berlinger whoopened the film stating, “I don’t want to say enjoy the film, because it’s not enjoyable. I hope that it’s provocative so that we can talk about it.” And talk about it we did.
During the Q & A session, Director Berlinger was joined by Luis Yanza, the Ecuadorean case coordinator and President of the Amazon Defense Front, and Steven Donziger, the plaintiff’s consulting attorney.
One audience member asked, “Aren't the oil company's employees human beings too, with children of their own? What would you say to them, thinking about them that way?”
Luis Yanza responded: "I can't understand how human beings who are living comfortably in their beautiful homes can be content knowing that the company they work for is responsible for such suffering in another country, in this case Ecuador. Perhaps they just don't believe what we are saying. If they were to go and see for themselves, to listen to the people, because I do believe they are human beings, perhaps their minds would change."
The “Amazon Chernobyl” case was filed by some 30,000 indigenous Ecuadoreans who have been drastically affected by the irresponsible exploration and drilling of oil within their Amazon rainforest. The plaintiffs in the suit claim that Chevron-Texaco is responsible for three decades of air, water and land contamination of the Amazon rainforest; the metaphorical lungs of the Earth.
Director Joe Berlinger provides his audience with a real and devastating insider-view of how this controversial environmental issue directly impacts the Ecuadorean communities living within the affected environments as well as the confusing judicial framework in which the plaintiffs are attempting to bring justice.
As everyone cannot travel to Ecuador to see the environmental degradation first hand, most people can watch this film and attach a face to the issue. In Director Berlinger’s words, “A film can humanize, and that’s what I wanted to do.”
By seeing Crude in theaters you will be sustaining its length in the box office, which is important to promote discussion of this environmental and humanitarian issue. Keep in mind that a decision has yet to be made on this case. In our oil-driven world, when will enough be enough?
We cannot continue paying this human cost in the battle of big oil versus little people. It is not sustainable for these Ecuadorean communities, the environment, or the world. Support Crude to see the real price of oil and learn how you can take action with Amazon Watch’s campaign to defend the Ecuadorean Amazon.