The 4th Annual Anti-Corporate Film Festival opens on Thursday, May 28, at 7:00pm with the West Coast premiere of SWEET CRUDE (USA, 2009, 92 min), the first feature-length film about Big Oil's devastation of the environment and people of Nigeria's Niger River Delta region, and efforts -- some of them violent -- by local residents to have their grievances addressed.
The screening coincides with increased violence by the Nigerian security forces in the area where the film was made, and with the start of a landmark civil trial in a New York court for Shell Oil's role in the torture and killing of Nigerian protesters over than 10 years ago. Director Sandy Cioffi will speak afterward about her experiences making it (including being detained by Nigerian security forces for five days) and recent and ongoing events, and will be joined by a Nigerian activist who just returned from visiting the region.
The oil theme continues at 9:15pm with the West Coast premiere of BLACK WAVE (Canada, 2008, 99 min), a chronicle of the 20-year legal battle -- the longest in U.S. history -- that toxicologist Riki Ott and the residents of Cordova, Alaska, have waged against the world's most powerful oil company, ExxonMobil, to win compensation for the worst industrial disaster in U.S. history: the Exxon Valdez spill. Director Robert Cornellier will be in attendance for a post-screening Q & A.
Thursday also includes an opening night reception featuring local organic food, drink, and film clips at the San Francisco Media Archive, 275 Capp Street (between 17th and 18th Streets) at 8:00pm.
The Festival continues on Friday at 7:00pm with the California premiere of KILLER AT LARGE (USA, 2008, 105 mins), which looks at the epidemic of obesity in the U.S. that could give this generation a shorter lifespan than their parents. The film traces a corporate-driven shift to industrial agriculture, and marketing campaigns that encourage Americans to over-consume cheap, high-calorie processed food.
This year's centerpiece film at 9:15pm is the West Coast premiere of RIP: A REMIX MANIFESTO (USA, 2008, 86 min), which explores the idea of "intellectual property" in the Information Age, as digital technology changes the relationship between musicians and audiences. The film follows popular mash-up artist Girl Talk, who creates new music by chopping up and re-assembling other people's songs, and sounds an alarm about corporate control over our collective culture and right to creative expression.
Closing night begins at 7:00pm with the West Coast premiere of APOLOGY OF AN ECONOMIC HITMAN (Greece, 2008, 93 min), a film adaptation of John Perkins' controversial book, 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman', which seemed to confirm what critics of international "development" have long suspected: that U.S. and other Western countries use economic "development" institutions such as the World Bank and IMF to trap poor countries in permanent debt and advance corporate interests. Opening with Perkins' public apology for helping to overthrow the populist president of Ecuador, the film documents Washington's ongoing use of this strategy in Panama, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere -- including, most recently, Iraq.
The Festival closes on Saturday, May 30, at 9:00pm with the Northern California premiere of BLUE GOLD: WORLD WATER WARS (USA, 2008, 94 min), a look at our dwindling supply of fresh water, and efforts by giant corporations to turn a basic human necessity into a private, for-profit commodity. As water becomes the new oil, competition for control over it is already leading to the first "water wars". Director Sam Bozzo will be in attendance for a post-screening Q & A.
For more information -- including the complete Festival program, film trailers, and online tickets -- visit www.countercorp.org.
Added by CounterCorp on May 23, 2009