Arts in Action together with the Transitions Film Festival presents a one-off screening of Bidder 70, one of the most powerful environmental films of recent times. The multi-award winning documentary by Beth & George Gage centres on an extraordinary, ingenious and effective act of civil disobedience carried out in the name of climate justice.
The film follows the story of Tim DeChristopher, a now iconic figure in the environmental movement, who disrupted a controversial BLM Oil and Gas leasing auction in 2008. He posed as a bidder (#70) and bid $1.7 million to win 22,000 acres of land he had no intention of paying for (or drilling on). Tim was federally indicted, convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for his courageous act of civil disobedience.
Bidder 70 is a personal story surrounded by a wider context of citizen action, our history of peaceful civil disobedience, and grass roots movements demanding government and industry accountability.
The screening will be followed by a lively and interactive discussion on the vital role that art and activism will play in the transformation towards a just and sustainable world. Panellists include, Alexandra De Blas – award winning journalist, Paul Connor – climate change activist (Quit Coal), Liz Conor community campaigner and co-convenor of the activist theatre troupe (ClimActs) and Michael Pulsford – climate change activist and artist (350.org, RMIT School of Art). See below for full speaker bios.
As University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher stood at the steps of a 2008 Utah BLM Oil and Gas lease auction in Salt Lake City, he knew that he and his fellow protesters simply were not being heard.
With thousands of acres of pristine Utah wilderness at stake, DeChristopher believed merely protesting the hotly contested auction – hastily arranged in the last weeks of George W. Bush’s presidency – wasn’t good enough. His concerns, not just about the fate of these wild lands but also about the escalating climate change heralding an unlivable future, would be unheard inside the auction room, unheeded as oil and gas giants gambled with the planet’s future.
And so the college student and environmental activist took one of the boldest steps the contemporary environmental movement has ever seen. He stepped through the doorway and into the auction where, under false pretenses, DeChristopher bid on and won 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7 million.
And with that single act of civil disobedience, DeChristopher’s voice was finally heard.
The compelling story of this young activist, whose actions at the 2008 auction ultimately safeguarded those parcels from oil and gas exploitation, is the centerpiece of filmmakers Beth and George Gage’s film, which has been proclaiming DeChristopher’s story and message since he was sent to prison for his actions in July of 2011, winning praise and film festival awards along the way.
What people are saying about the film:
“Powerful, intelligent and very entertaining, BIDDER 70 will show you how one person can change the world.” Frank Marshall, Kennedy-Marshall Company
“An excellent new documentary, “Bidder 70,” tells the story of another young hero’s great risk on behalf of the environment. It’s a moving film with an inspiring message calling us to work on behalf of the environment and humanity. It also takes us through the step-by-step experience of the consequences of a serious civil disobedience action.” National Catholic Reporter
“Tim’s act helped break civil disobedience out of the domain of radicals and marginal activist culture,” Tar Sands Action coordinator Matt Leonard.
“DeChristopher was and is a complete inspiration to all of us. His courage permeated everyone’s thinking.” 350.org founder Bill McKibben
Interviews and articles about Tim DeChristopher
Co-presenter: Transitions Film Festival
The Transitions Film Festival is a solutions-focused sustainability film festival showcasing powerful, inspiring and ground-breaking films from around the world. Covering topics such as renewable energy, organics & permaculture, economics, design and consciousness, the festival aims to share and inspire the change needed to create true social and environmental sustainability.
The festival has been touring nationally throughout 2013 and is currently accepting sustainability based film, speaker and organisation applications for the Melbourne Transitions Film Festival (Feb – 2014). Click here to get involved.
To stay in touch and receive festival updates:
Alexandra de Blas is the principal of de Blas Communications– a business specialising in sustainability and science communication since 2008. She is also the Communications and Marketing Manager of Social Enterprise Finance Australia (SEFA). Alexandra is an award winning journalist with 25 years media experience. Eight of which she was the voice of Earthbeat, ABC Radio National’s environment program. Her journalism awards include the 3rd World Water Forum Journalists Prize, Japan; and the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Award. She is a Vincent Fairfax Fellow and sits on the Editorial Advisory Board of Ecos, CSIRO’s sustainability magazine.
Paul Connor has been a climate change activist for five years. In that time he has organised an international hunger strike for climate justice which involved over 100,000 participants, been interviewed at the top of an eight metre coal drill rig, locked himself to friends in the foyer of Ted Baillieu’s office and other places, been visited at home by security intelligence officers and been written about extensively by his biggest admirer Andrew Bolt.
Most recently he has been undertaking social psychological research at the University of Melbourne into climate change communication and working as a volunteer manager for Quit Coal, an anti-coal collective associated with Friends of the Earth.
Liz Conor is a community campaigner, founding the activist theatre troupes ClimActs (with Deborah Hart 2013), The John Howard Ladies’ Auxiliary Fanclub (with Zelda Da, 1996) and convening the Coalition Against Sexual Violence Propaganda (1990) on media portrayal of rape, the Stick with Wik (1997) campaign on Native Title, the Mother’s of Intervention (2000) campaign on Maternity Leave.
Liz teaches at the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University, is the author of The Spectacular Modern Woman: Feminine Visibility in the 1920s, [Indiana University Press, 2004], and is completing Skin Deep: Settler Imaginings of Aboriginal Women.
She is former editor of Metro Magazine and Australian Screen Education. Her freelance essays and editorials have been published in The Age, The Drum, New Mathilda and Crikey.com and her blog has been archived by the National Library of Australia.
Michael Pulsford is a Melbourne climate change activist and artist. He is Divestment Coordinator with 350.org Melbourne, and teaches Performance and Live Art at RMIT University.
He has been composer-in-residence with Helsinki International Theatre in Finland and artist-in-residence at L’Abbeye de Noirlac in France. As of March 2013, until he can think of an artwork that will have more useful impact per hours spent making it than the same amount of time spent in climate change activism, he’ll do the latter.