Crude (2009) — Ecuador
This David v. Goliath documentary follows the fortunes of a class action lawsuit brought by 30,000 indigenous Ecuadorians in 1993 against Chevron. For twenty six years Chevron dumped more than a billion gallons of toxic wastes into the Amazon rain forest, polluting drinking water and the environment, and sickening numerous indigenous villages with cancer. The Cofan people, for example, formerly numbered 15,000 people but have been reduced to 300. Chevron blames PetroEcuador, which took over after they left in 1992, claims they cleaned up after themselves, and, according to their chief environmental scientist who is interviewed in the film, denies the charges of health concerns. After fourteen years of litigation, a court-appointed expert delivered a 4,000 page report that recommended Chevron pay billion is damages. The court is not required to follow the recommendation, and experts predict the case will drag on for ten more years. Film maker Joe Berlinger lets each side state their case, and follows the unusual proceedings which took place outside amidst the contaminated waste sites and spoiled marshes of the Amazon with the litigants in safari hats and bright yellow rain boots. "We had a clean jungle, it was paradise," said one person, "before the arrival of the company and their contamination."