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Sweet Crude Updates Archive

Variety reviews Sweet Crude

"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." Read the full review.

Upcoming screenings

Fans in the US, Canada, UK, Scotland, Italy, South Africa and Australia will have a chance to see Sweet Crude on the big screen in the next couple of months. Check out our new screenings page to find a location near you.

Awards update

Sweet Crude was a finalist for the Jury Award Best Documentary at the Ashland Independent Film Festival; won Best of Fest at the Everett Women's Film Festival; won the Programmer's Award Best Documentary at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival; won Best Documentary at the Bahamas International Film Festival; won Grand Jury Prize Best Documentary Feature Director at the Red Rock Film Festival; was a nominee for the Progie Film Award for Best Progressive Documentary; and was a nominee for the Maverick Movie Awards in these categories: Best Picture, Best Chronicle and Best Original Score. See our full awards list here. We are proud and grateful for this recognition. Thanks to audiences and judges!

See us on Facebook

Sweet Crude now has a Facebook page. Come on over and become a fan.

Sweet Crude urgently needs your support

Don't miss our limited edition Sabotage poster fundraiser to help defray the huge cost of our crew's detainment in Nigeria, getting the film over the finish line and DVD production. This is a fabulous piece of art and one of the best investments around these days. Get the details here.

Spring 2009 Nigerian military attacks on Niger Delta villages

On May 15th, the Joint Task Force (JTF) of the Nigerian military began targeting civilian villages in the Niger Delta with aerial bombardment and ground attacks. Hundreds were killed and as many as 20,000 are now refugees, cut off from food, water and medical aid. On Wednesday May 20th, many buildings in the village of Oporoza, where much of Sweet Crude was filmed, were burned down. Other villages have been razed as well. Please help us focus U.S. government and international attention to stop these attacks immediately and get access for humanitarian relief efforts to the region, which has been blocked off by the JTF. Learn more and find out what you can do here. UPDATE June 15: This tragic situation continues. More villages have been attacked. Refugees are still without aid. And military tanks have been reported in the Niger Delta city of Warri.

Upcoming Festivals

Here's what's coming up for Sweet Crude on the festival circuit. Hope you can join us at one of these! Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital, Washington DC USA, March 19; Tiburon International Film Festival, Tiburon CA USA, March 21; Ashland Independent Film Festival, Ashland OR USA, April 9, 10 & 11; Through Women's Eyes at the Sarasota Film Festival, Sarasota FL USA, April 11 & April 13; Projecting Change Film Festival, Vancouver BC Canada, April 24; Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital Bonus Screening Day, Washington DC USA, April 25; London International Documentary Festival, London UK, May 7; Green Film Festival, Seoul Korea, May 22 & 25; Dutch Environmental Film Festival, Amsterdam The Netherlands, June 3; and Berkshire International Film Festival, Great Barrington MA USA, June 6. Watch for more announcements here and on our Facebook page.

Recent Screenings

Sweet Crude screened at these Winter 2010 festivals: Bahamas International Film Festival (Winner Best Documentary), Palm Springs International Film Festival, World Community Film Festival (check here for additional traveling festival screening dates), ReFrame Peterborough International Film Festival, Pan African Film & Arts Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Everett Women's Film Festival and Artivist Film Festival.

Summer screenings

Sweet Crude screened at these summer festivals: DocuWeeks theatrical showcase in LA and New York, Rhode Island International Film Festival, DocuWest Film Festival and Strasbourg International Film Festival (Winner Best Documentary).

Sweet Crude at Docuweeks 2009

We are thrilled that Sweet Crude screened at the International Documentary Association's 2009 DocuWeeks theatrical showcase. This program was created to provide week-long theatrical runs in LA and NY, which are required to qualify for Oscar nomination. Only 18 features and 10 shorts were chosen. IDA considers them "some of the best groundbreaking documentary films from around the world." Check out audience reviews here.

Upcoming screenings

If you're in the vicinity, see us at these festivals coming up soon: DocuWeeks theatrical showcase July 31-August 6 in LA and August 14-20 in New York (see details below); Rhode Island International Film Festival August 4-9 in Providence, Rhode Island; and DocuWest Film Festival August 6-9 in Golden, Colorado.

Sweet Crude at Docuweeks 2009

We are thrilled to announce that Sweet Crude was selected for the International Documentary Association's 2009 DocuWeeks theatrical showcase. This program was created to provide week-long theatrical runs in LA and NY, which are required to qualify for Oscar nomination. Only 18 features and 10 shorts were chosen. IDA considers them "some of the best groundbreaking documentary films from around the world." Details and screening schedules here.

Runner up best documentary at Galway

Sweet Crude won Runner Up for Best Documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh. Following a nearly sold out screening, director Sandy Cioffi participated in a panel discussion with community members from Rossport in Mayo County, Ireland. In 2005, five community members were jailed for three months for their participation in non-violent protests against Shell Oil. This little-known story has striking parallels to the Niger Delta.

SIFF 2009 is a successful wrap

Sweet Crude had three screenings at the Seattle International Film Festival June 3rd, 7th and 13th. Audience response was fantastic. Director Sandy Cioffi won the Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence in Vision and the film was first runner-up for the Golden Space Needle Best Documentary Award. Thanks to all who attended and made this festival truly memorable!

RAISE IT: Sweet Crude Freedom Mix Benefit Concert!

Join us at The Triple Door, Seattle April 15th, 2009 for a fabulous evening of music and more. Two shows: 6:00 and 9:00 pm. Hear local faves, out of town friends and special surprise guests sing the songs that got the crew through the night on their way to Nigerian military prison one year ago. Raise it! Your glass. Your voice. Your spirits. Your awareness. Cold hard cash needed to finish the film. Help us celebrate one year free. Read more about this one-of-a-kind event and get your tickets here. See us on Facebook here.

Sweet Crude World Premiere

We are excited to announce that Sweet Crude will premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC on Saturday night, April 4th. We are among 55 films selected from more than 1200 submissions for the New Docs program. Learn more about the festival here. Be there if you can!

Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing

On September 24th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing titled "Resource Curse or Blessing? Africa's Management of its Extractive Industries." Learn more about the proceedings and read witness transcripts here. After the hearing, Committee Chair Senator Russ Feingold issued a statement on "The resource curse in Nigeria's Niger Delta." Read it here.

Detainment playlist

What music do you pick to keep it together under the most terrifying of circumstances? Hear filmmaker Sandy Cioffi's KUOW interview about the playlist that got the crew through a horrific night ride under armed guard during their detainment in Nigeria. Listen here. (Sandy's interview is 34 minutes into the Sound Focus broadcast.)

Sweet Crude on CNN

Filmmaker Sandy Cioffi and footage from Sweet Crude were featured on the CNN International program Inside Africa. Watch it online here. Sandy's interview is about four minutes in.

Seattle Times Editorial Column

"Crude Times in the Niger Delta" ran in the Seattle Times May 21st. Take a look. Blog, podcast and a place to share your comments here. Why not take a minute to make your voice heard?

Sweet Crude Forum

About 200 people joined the Sweet Crude crew in Seattle May 19th for an interactive, content-filled evening: Lives and Truth at Stake in the Niger Delta. A panel of international journalists, activists and human rights experts explored the deeper story and larger issues behind the Sweet Crude film crew detainment in Nigeria. The event was recorded for tv and radio. Watch an excerpt here.

Sandy on Democracy Now

Filmmaker Sandy Cioffi was interviewed by Amy Goodman for the May 9th Democracy Now broadcast. Check it out here.

Detainment in Nigeria

On April 12, 2008, members of the Sweet Crude filmmaking crew were detained by the Nigerian military Joint Task Force (JTF) while traveling by boat in the Niger Delta.

Seattle-based Director Sandy Cioffi, Producer Tammi Sims, and photojournalists Sean Porter and Cliff Worsham, along with Nigerian-American Joel Bisina, were taken into custody and subsequently handed over to the Nigerian State Security Services.

They were held for seven days without being charged and without access to legal counsel. They were released Friday, April 18.

U.S. lawmakers; a broad coalition of colleagues, family and friends; and many international individuals and organizations worked tirelessly with the U.S. State Department and the Nigerian government to secure their release.

Read Sweet Crude crew statement

Read press releases:
American film crew detained in Niger Delta
Update: American Documentary Filmmakers Detained in Niger Delta
U.S. Lawmakers Call on Nigerian President to Release Detained Filmmakers

Read letter from U.S. Congress members to Nigerian President Yar’Adua

Crew back in Nigeria

Filmmaker Sandy Cioffi in Portland, Oregon

Sweet Crude Promotional Reel Posted

Check out the Sweet Crude promotional reel, the latest addition to our video gallery, for a preview of the story, the issues and the film’s key characters.

Sweet Crude at SIFF

Sweet Crude screened a work-in-progress to a sold-out crowd at the Seattle International Film Festival June 15th, with a second, well-attended screening the following day. The film was received with overwhelming enthusiasm. The Q&A sessions with filmmaker Sandy Cioffi and special Nigerian guest Joel Bisina included some very thoughtful, action-oriented questions. Thanks to everyone who turned out.

Work-in-progress Screenings

Portland, OR: Thursday February 28 2008, 7:30 p.m. Cascade Festival of African Films. Screening followed by Q&A with filmmaker Sandy Cioffi.

Whidbey Island, WA: October 10 2007, Whidbey Institute. Screening followed by Q&A with filmmaker Sandy Cioffi and Niger Delta activist Joel Bisina.

Syracuse, NY: October 19 2007, Palace Theatre. Screening followed by Q&A with filmmaker Sandy Cioffi. Sebastopol, CA: October 27 & 28 2007, West County Film Festival. Screening followed by Q&A with filmmaker Sandy Cioffi.

Seattle, WA: March 31 2007, Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival. Filmmaker Workshop with selected clips. Sandy was also on the panel for the festival’s Environmental Justice session.

Democracy Now Interview

Sandy did a live broadcast interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. Read the transcript or stream the archived audio or video here.

Live from the Niger Delta on NPR-affiliate KUOW

Listen to Sandy’s live call-in conversation from Nigeria with Steve Scher on KUOW’s Weekday.

Marketplace Interview

Sandy’s conversation with American Public Media Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal garnered international interest. Read the transcript or listen to the audio stream here.

Press Releases

For Immediate Release - May 17th, 2007

Seattle Filmmaker Brings the Niger Delta Crisis to the Screen at SIFF. Congressman Jim McDermott to Join Audience Q&A Session. Read our latest press release.

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