SUNDANCE CHANNEL TO PREMIERE JOE BERLINGER'S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED DOCUMENTARY "CRUDE" ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 AT 8PM ET
AN EXAMINATION OF ONE OF THE LARGEST AND MOST CONTROVERSIAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAWSUITS ON THE PLANET WHICH LED TO BERLINGER'S OWN SUBPOENA
New York, NY (July 26, 2011) - Sundance Channel will premiere two time Emmy(R) and Peabody award-winner Joe Berlinger's critically acclaimed documentary Crude on September 22nd at 8 pm ET/PT. Joe Berlinger has been a leading voice in nonfiction film and television for two decades. Crude, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, has won twenty two human rights, environmental and film festival awards. It was also named one of the 'Top Five Documentaries of the Year' by the National Board of Review. Crude is an examination of one of the largest and most controversial environmental lawsuits on the planet- the $27 billion "Amazon Chernobyl" case.
Crude also resulted in Berlinger becoming a defendant in his own legal battle against Chevron, when he was ordered to hand over the more than 600 hours of raw footage and "outtakes" in connection with the film. Berlinger strongly opposed the court order stating, "the raw footage of Crude is confidential and is protected by the journalists' privilege." Despite the support of the International Documentary Association and a group of filmmakers that included Alex Gibney ("Taxi to the Dark Side"), Michael Moore ("Bowling for Columbine"), D.A. Pennebaker ("Don't Look Back"), Barbara Kopple ("American Dream"), Davis Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth"), Louie Psihoyos ("The Cove"), Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me"), and Robert Redford, a federal appeals court ruled that Berlinger could not invoke journalist's privilege in refusing to turn over the footage. The dispute was settled in 2010.
In Crude, Berlinger and his crew present the complex legal situation involving the more than 30,000 indigenous Ecuadorian plaintiffs and the defendant Chevron-Texaco. The plaintiffs claim that Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, spent three decades contaminating one of the most bio-diverse 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 Rhode Island, resulting in increased rates of cancer, leukemia, birth defects, and other health ailments. The defendants reject these claims, charging that the case is a complete fabrication by "environmental con men" who are seeking to line their pockets with the company's billions.
Sarah Barnett, Executive Vice President and General Manager, of Sundance Channel said, "Sundance Channel has always been a home for independent voices in the tradition of our founder Robert Redford. We remain committed to giving audiences the opportunity to see works of singular vision like Crude, a remarkable and compelling piece of filmmaking."
Crude is Berlinger's fifth feature length documentary. His other films include Brother's Keeper, Paradise Lost, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. He also is co-executive producer and director of the Sundance Channel original series, Iconoclasts. Berlinger has also created many hours of television, including the Emmy -winning 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America and the Emmy-nominated Gray Matter. Berlinger is currently in production on the third installment of the Emmy-award winning Paradise Lost series for HBO.
About Sundance Channel
Sundance Channel is the destination for What's Next, Now. Showcasing both today's creative icons and the emerging talent of tomorrow, Sundance Channel tells credible, authentic and emotionally immersive stories of invention, fashion, film, travel, design and enterprise. The network's originals include the social media phenomenon Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and All on the Line starring Joe Zee. Launched in 1996, the network provides perspectives dedicated to founder Robert Redford's mission to celebrate creativity. Sundance Channel was acquired by AMC Networks (formerly Rainbow Media Holdings) in 2008.
About AMC Networks Inc.
Dedicated to producing quality programming and movie content for more than 30 years, AMC Networks Inc. owns and operates several of the most popular and award-winning brands in cable television. AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv, and IFC Films produce and deliver distinctive, compelling and culturally relevant content that engages audiences across multiple platforms. The company also operates AMC/Sundance Channel Global, an international programming business, and AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology, a full-service network programming feed origination and distribution company.