Award-winning Bidder 70 to be screened August 27; Documentary features climate activist Tim DeChristopher

The Gila Conservation Coalition will be screening the feature-length documentary, Bidder 70, at the Silco Theater on Tuesday, August 27, at 7:00 pm. Tickets will be $10 at the door. Bidder 70 is the inspirational story of Tim DeChristopher, an economics student in Utah who became a leader in the fight for climate justice. DeChristopher will be in Silver City to deliver the keynote address at the 15th Annual Gila River Festival on Friday, September 20. Bidder 70, which won 20 major film festival awards, shows DeChristopher’s harrowing journey from student to incarcerated felon, and from felon to climate activist.

“This year, the Gila River Festival, Our River, Our Future, will explore the future of the Gila River in relation to the changing climate, as well as our responsibility to act as responsible earth stewards,” said Donna Stevens, director of the four-day Gila River Festival. “Tim is an inspiration to millions of climate activists around the world, and we’re thrilled to have him in Silver City to speak about his experiences and inspire us to take action to stabilize the global climate.”

In 2008, Tim DeChristopher disrupted a highly disputed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Oil and Gas lease auction, effectively safeguarding thousands of acres of pristine Utah land that were slated for oil and gas leases. Not content to merely protest outside, Tim entered the auction hall and registered as bidder #70. He outbid industry giants on land parcels (which, starting at $2 an acre, were adjacent to national treasures like Arches and Canyonlands national parks), winning 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7 million before the auction was halted.

Two months later, incoming Interior Secretary Ken Salazar invalidated the auction. DeChristopher, however, was indicted on two federal felonies with penalties of up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. After two years and nine postponements, his 5-day trial began in February 2011. Outside the courtroom, hundreds rallied in solidarity with Tim. Inside, Judge Dee Benson disallowed every defense his lawyers put forth.

DeChristopher was found guilty and sentenced to two years in a federal prison. DeChristopher’s imprisonment earned him an international media presence as an activist and political prisoner of the United States government. He has used this as a platform to spread the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for bold, confrontational action in order to create a just and healthy world. Tim used his prosecution as an opportunity to organize the climate justice organization Peaceful Uprising in Salt Lake City, a grass-roots group dedicated to defending a livable future through empowering non-violent action. Most recently, he founded the Climate Disobedience Center.

“At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow,” DeChristopher said.

The Gila Conservation Coalition will screen Bidder 70 at the Silco Theater on Tuesday, August 27 at 7:00 pm. Admission is $10 at the door.

Tim DeChristopher will deliver the keynote address at the 15th annual Gila River Festival on Friday, September 20, at 7:00 pm at the WNMU Fine Arts Center Theater. Admission is $15 suggested donation at the door.

Allyson Siwik