Two documentary filmmakers, known for taking on Al Gore, Kermit Gosnell and numerous environmentalists, now have their sights set on the bogus Chevron lawsuit in Ecuador.
Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney — Irish documentary filmmakers who have written and produced “FrackNation,” “Mine Your Own Business,” “Not Evil Just Wrong” and many other political documentaries — are currently working on a play that will lampoon the frivolous lawsuit against Chevron Corporation, an $18 billion-dollar case later revealed to have been unethically handled.
“The $18-Billion Prize” tells the story of New York lawyer Steven Donziger and his years-long quest to sue Chevron for alleged pollution to the Ecuadorian rain forest and poisoning of the natives. In 2011, Donziger emerged successful when a tiny Ecuadorian court found Chevron guilty, ruling the major energy corporation must pay over $18 billion in damages — the biggest award ever given in civil court.
However, the lawsuit was found to have been riddled with corruption. Donziger later admitted to bribing the presiding judge and court officials. Additionally, Donziger’s associates orchestrated a key environmental report in the case. News regarding the lawsuit was widely circulated in the media, but the subsequent discovery of corruption was not. McAleer and McElhinney are hoping to change that.
“The $18-Billion Prize reveals the dark side of the environmental movement, where campaigners such as Donziger go to remote locations and use locals as props in their ideological war against American corporations,” a description of the play’s website reads. “In one of the most outrageous examples, Donziger secretly fought and stopped the Ecuadorian government from cleaning up their pollution because it wouldn’t look good for his case. Donziger was also going to become very rich in the process. He stood to pocket $1.2 billion before the fraud was uncovered.”
The play is due to open May 19 in San Francisco at the Phoenix Theatre. Funds are still needed to get it up and running. McAleer and McElhinney are currently crowdfunding to get the play out in time for viewers to see.
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