Arcata Playhouse: Sat & Sun March 10 & 11
Garberville Theatre, Tues. through Thurs., March 13 through 15.
All shows start at 7:30 p.m.
Admission is a sliding scale donation.
Unsolved 1990 Oakland Car-bombing of Earth First!ers, First Amendment Lawsuit Against FBI and OPD, and Successful Redwood Campaign Inspire Movie
By Darryl Cherney
Legendary Earth First! organizer and car-bomb victim Judi Bari may have passed away in 1997, but just after the 15th anniversary of her death a 93-minute documentary Who Bombed Judi Bari?, produced by her eco-cohort Darryl Cherney, will bring her back to life and have its Humboldt County premieres at the Arcata Playhouse on Saturday and Sunday March 10 and 11; and at the Garberville Theatre, Tuesday through Thursday, March 13 through 15. All shows commence at 7:30 p.m. and admission is a sliding scale donation to the movie’s upcoming festival expenses. *
Directed by Mary Liz Thomson, the movie was created entirely from archival footage including Bari’s inspirational speeches, colorful and daring redwood protests, a musical appearance by Bonnie Raitt, and a tribute to Bari by Jerry Brown.
Who Bombed Judi Bari? is actually narrated by Judi Bari herself using footage taken at her deathbed testimony in her civil rights lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland police. In 2002, a federal jury found three FBI agents and three Oakland officers guilty of violating Bari and Cherney’s civil rights in order to silence them. Law enforcement falsely accused the Earth First!ers of car-bombing themselves while they were on a musical road show to promote a series of protests known as Redwood Summer 1990, which ultimately attracted thousands of activists.
With only 30 days left to live, Bari tells her life story while the movie flashes back and forward to illustrate the events she describes. Wherever Bari went, cameras followed. The movie covers her early days as a union organizer at the DC Bulk Mail Center, her agitating as a feisty feminist Earth First!er convincing loggers to join environmentalists in opposing corporate redwood logging, and her federal trial against the FBI and Oakland Police that was carried forth posthumously by her organizing partner Darryl Cherney.
Early praise comes from Ed Asner, who said the movie “transcends politics and will be appreciated as a well-told story and parable.” Actor Peter Coyote remarked, “This film is... a graphic, factual display of criminality on the part of police in the service of big business. It got me angry, it made me sad, but above all it made me laugh like hell.” “Before Occupy Wall Street,” adds producer Darryl Cherney, “there was Redwood Summer.”
Bari and Cherney’s lawsuit against the FBI continues to make news. In 2011, their legal team secured a stop order preventing the FBI from destroying evidence that could contain the bomber’s DNA and ordering it turned over to an independent lab for testing. The FBI is appealing the order. The movie’s executive producer is Elyse Katz, with co-executive producer Sheila Laffey, and co-producers Bill and Laurie Benenson, all veteran filmmakers.
* The movie’s world premiere takes place at San Francisco Green Film Festival on March 2 and the East Coast premiere is on March 4 at the DC Independent Film Festival. On March 25, The Santa Rosa Film Festival will feature a fundraiser for itself with a lunch and panel on forest preservation. The movie shows in May at the Awareness Fest in LA and the Santa Cruz Film Festival and the Santa Rosa Int’l Film Festival in September. Schedule and trailer are on the movie’s website http://whobombedjudibari.com/