"Discloses the catastrophic consequences of a man-made natural disaster." - Modern Times Review
"Shot with poetic grandeur and packed with stirring political heft." - POV Magazine
- Hot Docs
- DOC NYC
- Hamptons International Film Festival
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Movies that Matter | The Hague, Netherlands | *Dian Maharani -- winner of Article 30 Human Rights Award*
This investigation of one of the largest environmental disasters in recent history traces its origins in the nexus of big business and politics in Indonesia and explores its many ramifications.In Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia, the Lapindo Brantas Company hit a mud pocket while drilling for natural gas in May 2006, setting off the world’s largest mud volcano that has been erupting continuously ever since. Between 3 and 6 million cubic feet of mud has been spewed daily. In a region known for its seismic activity, the boiling mudflow quickly consumed sixteen villages and displaced around 40,000 people.
Lapindo is one of the many companies controlled by tycoon Aburizal Bakrie, Indonesia’s richest man at the time of the disaster and one of the most powerful players in the Golkar Party, the ruling party of Suharto’s 31-year anti-communist dictatorship (1967-1998). A government investigation determined the disaster was the result of an earthquake 160 miles away. But amidst the ongoing public outcry, Lapindo promised to compensate the victims. Other subsequent investigations by international scientists have determined with 99% confidence that the cause of the disaster was drilling. Although Lapindo began to make some payments, few of the victims could actually prove their claims with the required documentation, as almost all of the evidence had been buried by the mud. Most received nothing. Then, as the Great Financial Crisis hit in 2008, all the payments slowed. In 2009, Bakrie was elected Chairman of the Golkar Party.
Grit captures the magnitude of this man-made environmental disaster in its many dimensions, and through this example illuminates how deep the ever-escalating global environmental crisis runs in the system, and how difficult it will be to resolve.
Directed by: Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander
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