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Interview: Joe Berlinger on Crude and Some Kind of Monster

crude-docThere aren’t many celebrity documentarians, but Joe Berlinger is probably on that short list. He established a reputation as director of the groundbreaking crime investigations Brother’s Keeper and Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and became globally known for his warts-and-warts-and-more-warts-‘n’-all rockumentary, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. But his follow-up documentary, Crude, drops him into the middle of geopolitics, following the complicated battle over pollution in the Amazon fought between the massed corporate power of the U.S.-based Chevron oil company and the lawyers representing the Ecuadorian tribes whose ancient lifestyle and homelands face devastation. Berlinger describes it as a return to his filmmaking roots, with a minimal crew and almost no external financing. Traveling from Chevron’s corporate headquarters to remote villages in what he called “an area of border disputes and drug runners,” he charts the seemingly endless court case and the ecological genocide that devastates the region.

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