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Tim DeChristopher fights the power in inspiring new documentary, BIDDER 70

BIDDER 70 (Beth Gage & George Gage, 2013)
Quad Cinema
34 West 13th St.
Opens Friday, May 17

Can one person really make a difference? In Bidder 70, directors Beth and George Gage tell the inspiring story of Tim DeChristopher, who has followed in the footsteps of such peaceful, nonviolent protestors as Rosa Parks, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi, although the humble West Virginia native wouldn’t dare put himself in such lofty company. In December 2008, DeChristopher attended a Utah Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction without a real plan, knowing only that he had to do something to keep the pristine wilderness land out of the hands of corporate drillers; he ended up winning bids on more than twenty-two thousand acres for $1.7 million without any intention of actually paying, so he was arrested and charged with two felonies that could put him in prison for a long time. But he just couldn’t sit back and let the sale take place, and he’s willing to face the consequences. “It’s really hard for me to not think about climate change with anything that we’re doing,” the West Virginia native says in the film while relaxing in a vast, rocky landscape. “It’s this big weight that our generation is bearing on our shoulders, and it’s like something chasing us, that’s getting closer all the time. We’ve always been told that things are just beyond our control and that corporations have all the power, and we don’t often get to be reminded that we’re citizens of what was once the greatest democracy on the planet and that we’re human beings with the power to inspire others through our actions.” The Gages (American Outrage, Fire on the Mountain) follow the modest DeChristopher as he becomes a leader in the civil disobedience movement, cofounding Peaceful Uprising and preparing for a trial that continually gets postponed, perhaps for political reasons. Among the talking heads discussing and/or helping DeChristopher in his defense — he could end up being sentenced to twenty years in prison even though the government later declared the auction he attended to be illegal — are environmental activists Robert Redford and Bill McKibben, writer and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams, Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Terry Root, attorneys Ron Yengich and Patrick Shea, and NASA GISS director Dr. James Hansen. Can one person really make a difference? Bidder 70 provides the answer. The documentary opens May 17 at the Quad, with DeChristopher and Beth and George Gage participating in Q&As after the 7:10 screenings on Friday and Saturday and the Gages back for another Q&A on Monday night.

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