Chevron Demands Access to Doc Filmmaker’s Footage, Could Have Chilling Effect on Documentary

Documentarian Joe Berlinger, the director of the documentary “Crude,” a film which chronicles the environmental devastation that petroleum companies like Chevron are wreaking in Ecuador, was subpoenaed by Chevron for access to more than 600 hours of footage.

In the story, which appears on, Berlinger says, “There is a lot at stake here…This is a financial burden for a documentarian to fight this fight. But if Chevron is successful in getting a journalist to turn over a work in process, it will have a chilling effect on this kind of documentary making in future.”

Berlinger also says what Chevron is trying to compel him to do is to violate pacts he made with members of tribes in Ecuador:

“When invited into extremely sensitive situations, there’s a level of trust-building that the filmmaker is going to be responsible with the story he’s telling, and not an expectation that dailies will be handed over to adversaries in litigation.”

Chevron claims that Berlinger may have “unwittingly captured on film other instances of improper collaboration between court experts and the plaintiffs’ representatives that would further demonstrate the illegitimate nature of the entire Lago Agrio trial.”

The Lago Agrio trial is the epic trial against Chevron that “30,000 Amazonian settlers and indigenous people, who call themselves Los Afectados—the Affected Ones” have been waging. It is the trial that is the primary focus of Berlinger's documentary.

For more on Berlinger's battle, click here.

1 Comment

  1. Wow – crazy! This doc was so compelling and moving.. to hear that Chevron is being a jerk about it just goes to prove their guiltiness.

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