Help For The Gages To Complete Film On "Bidder 70"

[click "Play" to hear Susan's interview with Beth and George Gage]

 

Tim DeChristopher He was a guest at the 30th and 31st annual Mountainfilm in Telluride in 2008 and 2009. We are talking about Tim DeChristopher, who not only draws outside the lines, he steps over them. He is the man who came to be known as "Bidder 70."

While at Mountainfilm, journalist Alex Chadwick conducted one of his 50-cent interviews with Tim. In those four minutes, Tim recounted the events leading up to and through his arrest. (You can find the interview at: http://player.vimeo.com/video/20626810?title=0&amp%3Bbyline=0&amp%3Bportrait=0&amp%3Bcolor=ffffff.)  Now Telluride locals and award-winning filmmakers George and Beth Gage are telling Tim DeChristopher's full story, a jumping off point for the larger stories of civil disobedience and climate change.

The Gages' latest and perhaps most timely film is down to the wire – and down to its last dime. On April Fools Day, the staff of "Bidder 70" celebrates the second anniversary of Tim's indictment by holding an event at the Steaming Bean in the late afternoon. The event features a screening of the Mountainfilm trailer which premiered at Lincoln Center in October and a package of Moab delights with no oil rigs in sight.

Tim DeChristopher's story began in the last days of the President Bush, when his administration forced through a highly disputed BLM Oil and Gas Auction to lease thousands of acres of pristine Utah land surrounding Arches, Canyonlands and Dinosaur National Monument to the oil and gas industry. After finishing an economics exam at the University of Utah, Tim headed over to the BLM to join the protests. Countless attempts by environmental coalitions to halt the "midnight sale" had failed, and an air of hopelessness hung over the crowd. So Tim decided to do more than just protest outside. Tim decided to go inside.

Tim DeChristopher was allowed to register as a bona-fide bidder and took his seat amongst the oil and gas representatives and speculators in the auction room. Paddle #70 rested on his knees as the bidding began. At first, he just wanted to drive up the cost of the parcels, but Tim quickly realized this wasn’t enough and went all in. By the time the guards escorted him out, Tim had bid nearly $1.8 million to win 14 parcels or 22,000 acres of pristine Utah wilderness for which he had no intention to pay.

Through his derring-do, Tim had bought enough time for the Obama adminstration to come in and invalidate the auction. Remarkably, despite the fact that the auction was ruled illegal, the US attorney indicted Tim on two federal counts for disrupting the auction and on March 3 he was found guilty. He now faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of $750,000.

Beth Gage met Tim DeChristopher at the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, where the two decided to collaborate on a project that would bring Tim's outrage, actions, hopes and situation to a global audience.

For further information on the event, call Eliza at 970-708-1032.

To learn more, click the "play" button and listen to the Gages' interview.

Tim DeChristopher photo by Daphne Hougard, courtesy of the Bidder 70 website.

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