Documentary Filmmaker Fights Chevron Demand for Unused Film Footage
NEW YORK, April 26 /PRNewswire/ — Filmmaker Joe Berlinger and his production company, Third Eye Motion Picture Company, filed legal papers opposing Chevron’s request for raw footage created during the filming of Berlinger’s documentary film Crude. The film reports on an environmental catastrophe in the Amazon rainforest and the decades of fierce litigation that have ensued between the indigenous populations affected by the damage and the US corporation allegedly responsible for the harm. Crude debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009, was released in theaters in the fall of 2009, and is currently available on DVD from First Run Features and Netflix.
“Unused film footage and other editorial materials from Crude are protected by the journalist’s privilege under federal law and the First Amendment,” said Maura Wogan of Frankfurt Kurnit, the lawyers for Mr. Berlinger and his production company. “We will vigorously oppose Chevron’s attempt to get to these materials.”
Chevron and its lawyers apparently hope to mine the footage for material to use in their defense of a decades-long environmental lawsuit brought in Ecuadorean courts. The company asked a federal court in New York on April 9 to order production of more than 600 hours of footage related to Crude.
“Documentary filmmakers play an essential role in exposing social injustice,” said Berlinger. “As with traditional journalists, their sources must be protected or we risk the demise of this kind of comprehensive investigative reporting.”
For a copy of Mr. Berlinger’s legal papers, please visit www.fkks.com.
About Frankfurt Kurnit
Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz is a leading media, entertainment, advertising, and technology law firm. The firm has handled many significant First Amendment and intellectual property litigations in the entertainment, publishing, marketing, and licensing fields. The firm represents some of the world’s best-known filmmakers, publishers, producers, broadcast entities, actors, writers, directors, distributors, financiers, charitable organizations, models, fashion designers, online content and service providers, and many of the foremost advertising agencies and corporate brands.
About Joe Berlinger
Joe Berlinger is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist and photographer. His films include the landmark documentaries BROTHER’S KEEPER, PARADISE LOST: THE CHILD MURDERS AT ROBIN HOOD HILLS, and METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER. His most recent film, the multi-award-winning CRUDE, debuted at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and has received numerous accolades.
SOURCE Frankfurt Kurnit