September 10, 2000 |
Joe Berlinger is a month away from the release of his first dramatic feature film, but he's not gearing up for the usual round of film festival screenings and promotional hustles. Instead, he's bracing for an onslaught of criticism. "It seems like everyone is predisposed to hate this movie," says the 37-year-old director. "No matter what this ends up being, it seems like a good portion of the population is ready to complain about it."
July 14, 2010 |
In one of Hollywood's most gripping legal thrillers, Chevron Corp. is trying to obtain 600 hours of outtakes from a documentary film focused on oil industry environmental practices in Ecuador, sparking a court battle that has attracted the attention of 1st Amendment lawyers, top filmmakers, show business unions and a corporation that says it was defamed in another nonfiction film. For 17 years, the San Ramon, Calif.-based energy giant has fought a class-action lawsuit in Ecuador that could cost it up to $27 billion in damages and cleanup costs.
September 20, 2009 |
For director Joe Berlinger, the painstaking road to making the powerful documentary "Crude," all started with what he dubs his "toxi-tour" of a contaminated swath of Ecuador's Amazonian rain forest. After massive oil exploration that began in the mid-1960s by Texaco (in a consortium formed with Gulf), the area -- approximately the size of Rhode Island -- is now home to some of the world's most heinous environmental destruction. Four years ago, Berlinger traveled to Ecuador to view the destruction at the urging of acquaintance Steven Donziger, a Manhattan-based attorney and consultant to the legal team representing 30,000 native Ecuadorians embroiled, since 1993, in a protracted class-action lawsuit against Texaco and, later, Chevron, which acquired Texaco in 2001.
July 16, 2010 |
A federal appeals panel has ruled quickly that though Joe Berlinger does not have to surrender all 600 hours of outtakes from his film "Crude" to Chevron Corp., the documentary filmmaker must immediately hand over several categories of unused film footage. In an order issued Thursday, a day after the closely watched 1st Amendment case was argued in New York, the three-judge panel said that Berlinger must turn over outtakes related to three issues covered in his 2009 film about environmental litigation in Ecuador.
May 1, 1994 |
Documentary makers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofksy provide a straightforward narrative on their highly publicized subject, which is a trial in upstate New York, where a dairy farmer was charged with murdering his own brother in the bed they shared. Was the ailing Bill Ward's death a mercy killing, or a case of sex gone bad? Or, as many in Munnsville (pop. 499) believed, was his brother Delbert innocent altogether?
December 17, 2009
Before seeing the late fall blockbusters, spare some time for an excellent documentary that has surfaced for a return engagement. "Crude" sounds like the standard "This is an outrage" environmental degradation epic, but it is something more interesting as well. The news behind the news about a lawsuit pitting 30,000 Ecuadoreans against Chevron, "Crude" shows in candid detail how campaigns are waged, tactics decided on and strategies prioritized. For both sides realize that lawsuits like this one are not won or lost in the courtroom alone but in the critical realm of perception and public opinion.