On December 19, 2008, Tim DeChristopher entered the controversial Bureau of Land Management Oil and Gas lease auction an ordinary man. He would exit known as “Bidder 70,” a foe to large corporations ravaging the planet in their relentless pursuit of natural resources and profit, and a hero to the millions of people across the globe eager to preserve the planet for a better tomorrow.
The film Bidder 70 tells DeChristopher’s story both with respect to the environmental movement and larger notions of civil disobedience. Following him through two years and nine trial postponements, the film tells the story of a man with great courage and a great love of the earth as well as the human race.
Born in West Virginia, Tim DeCristopher grew up in a family who placed a great emphasis on the outdoors and respect for the earth. From a young age, he felt a deep connection with nature and a desire to protect it from harm. On that December day in 2008, Tim DeChristopher went from University of Utah economics student to champion of the environmental movement.
Although the environmental movement is its main subject matter, the film also places a great emphasis on civil disobedience, cited by DeChristopher as his main influence in his decision to protest against policies that would harm the planet. He referred to issues of saving the planet at the “prime moral imperative for our generation” and said that his activism and decision to disrupt the auction was “about saving human lives.”
After two long years and nine postponements, Tim DeChristopher stood trial beginning on February 28, 2011, was convicted of his crimes, and on July 26 was sentenced to two years in prison. He was released after twenty-one months on April 24, 2013.
Bidder 70 tells the story of a man with great courage who refused to be silenced by a government that is more than willing to appease large oil corporations. Tim DeChristopher’s refusal to be put down is an example to all people who support any range of causes. A simple act of civil disobedience gave notoriety and hope to a generation that cares more about the future of the planet than previous generations.
Editor’s Note: There will be one final showing in the Sustainability Film Series at the Athena on Court Street: “Chasing Ice” on Oct. 30th, 7 p.m.