A local filmmaker imprisoned last year in Africa this week screens the project that landed her behind bars.
Seattle-based filmmaker Sandy Cioffi's documentary "Sweet Crude," about the Niger Delta of Nigeria, appears at the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival June 7, 1:30 p.m. at the Kirkland Performance Center; and June 13, 1:30 p.m. at the Egyptian.
The show will be followed by a Q&A with Cioffi, who has made four trips to the region and is considered one of the most knowledgeable sources outside Nigeria on the crisis there. Most of the production and post-production crew are also based in Seattle and will be in attendance.
The film's timeliness increased exponentially when the Nigerian military began bombing and burning civilian villages May 15 in an offensive they say is targeting militants. Much of Sweet Crude was filmed in one of these villages, Oporoza, where many buildings and homes were razed by the military. Senators Russ Feingold and John Kerry issued statements about the crisis on May 22. A letter signed by 15 concerned organizations, including Sweet Crude, was sent to the International Criminal Court May 19.
The SIFF screenings coincide with a landmark court case begun this week in New York – a suit against Shell Oil for complicity in the 1998 execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other environmental activists in the Niger Delta.
"We made Sweet Crude to show the complexity of this place and the humanity of people typically represented to the world in highly sensationalized media coverage," says Cioffi. To learn more about Sweet Crude, visit www.sweetcrudemovie.com
To learn more about the current military attacks, visit www.sweetcrudemovie.com/attacks