Price: $310.00

    Code: 2369

    Directed by Sandy Cioffi
    2009, 94 minutes
    Purchase: $310 | Classroom Rental: $125

    A multiple award-winning documentary, Sweet Crude examines the humanitarian, environmental and economic devastation caused by 50 years of oil extraction in Nigeria's Niger Delta. Filmmaker Sandy Cioffi, who was imprisoned by the Nigerian military during the making of this film and released only after an international outcry (as well as pressure from key members of the US government), uncovers an international web of oil politics, big business and media manipulation.

    In the summer of 2008, militants from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) declared an "oil war" in Nigeria. This was one of the biggest spikes yet on a radar screen dotted with conflict and tragedy. The Niger Delta is a powder keg. Escalating unrest and kidnappings by militants have shut down as much as 40% of oil production in the region. The Nigerian government continues to make and break a long string of promises to resolve the crisis. The international community is standing by while impending war looms.

    Meanwhile, the people of the Delta are suffering as they have for half a century. Billions of dollars of crude oil are pumped out from beneath their feet, while they live in desperate poverty - without means of livelihood in a decimated environment. Oil spills, dredging and acid rain from gas flaring have destroyed habitats, killed the fish population, fouled the soil and poisoned the villagers. Their villages lack potable water, sanitation, infrastructure, healthcare and schools. Job prospects are bleak and people die young.

    There is a long legacy of non-violent protest in the Delta. But it has consistently been met by the Nigerian government with violence - not only against individuals who spoke out, but against entire communities. By late 2005, the people had had enough. A new armed resistance, MEND, emerged. They began kidnapping oil workers to bring international attention to the crisis and in the years since, the region has become increasingly unstable. Yet they have repeatedly stated their desire to negotiate. In this moment, there is an opportunity to tip the scales toward peace.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Winner, Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision, Seattle International Film Festival, 2009
    * Winner, Special Jury Prize, DMZ Korean International Documentary Festival, 2009
    * Winner, Best Feature, Newburyport Documentary Film Festival, 2009
    * Winner, Best Documentary, Strasbourg International Film Festival, 2009
    * Winner, Audience Choice Feature Film, Tallgrass Film Festival, 2009
    * Winner, Best Documentary, Ellensburg Film Festival 2009
    * Winner, 1st Runner-up Best Documentary, Seattle International Film Festival, 2009
    * Winner, 1st Runner-up Best Documentary, Galway Film Fleadh, 2009
    * Winner, Second Prize Best Feature Documentary, Rhode Island International Film Festival, 2009
    * World Premiere, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, 2009


    Highly Recommended " Although focused on the Niger River Delta, this documentary helps viewers not only develop a better understanding of why it is important to consider multiple perspectives when analyzing an issue, but also how the principles of democracy and critical citizenship apply and are exercised worldwide. Sweet Crude offers a balanced depiction of what has been transpiring in Nigeria for more than a half century and effectively addresses the relevance of the problems experienced by the residents of the Delta to all people worldwide." - Educational Media Reviews Online

    "A movie about crime and shame, Sweet Crude is also a classic example of urgent, righteous-indignation agitprop cinema that succeeds in being not just angry, but art… Director of Photography Sean Porter’s painterly shooting, Julie Wolf’s funk-ethereal music and helmer Sandy Cioffi’s frighteningly gentle narration, all of which blend to seductive psychological effect, suggesting gossamer dreams about paradise lost, with an undertone of unrefined fury." - Variety

    “A provocative portrait of human devastation ignored in the name of commerce and oil." - Seattle Weekly

    "It's typical of the film’s calm fury that the arrest of the filmmaker last year by Nigerian authorities is relegated to a brief epilogue; the real story is more significant than that." Film Critic Robert Horton