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Big Men

Synopsis

In Ghana, a small American energy company fights to hold onto its discovery of oil just as a new government comes into power. In Nigeria, where oil has already been discovered, the ramifications of the oil industry have taken their toll on the people, most notably those in the Niger Delta who have seen none of the benefits of this new wealth. As the American company falls under the scrutiny of the new Ghanaian government and the U.S. Justice Department, the contracts for the oil field languish. Jobs are lost, power plays are made and all the while, the Ghanaian people wait to reap the benefits. In the Niger Delta, pipelines are attacked and set on fire as militants continue to demand more of the wealth from their government. With unprecedented access and an unflinching eye, BIG MEN takes us deep into the African oil industry in Ghana and Nigeria, delivering an exposé on the ambition, greed and corruption that threaten to exacerbate Africa's resource curse and leave more of its citizens behind.

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The Filmmakers

Rachel Boynton Director/Producer

Rachel produced and directed the feature-length documentary OUR BRAND IS CRISIS, filming for three years on two continents. Winner of the International Documentary Association’s Best Feature Documentary Award and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, it was named the #3 movie of 2006 by New York Magazine, and appeared on several other “Best of 2006” lists, including those of the New York Times and the LA Weekly. The film aired internationally on the BBC, HBO Latin America, ARTE, VPRO, and the CBC among others and was televised in the United States on The Sundance Channel. OUR BRAND IS CRISIS also screened at multiple festivals worldwide including SXSW, the 34th New Directors/ New Film Series presented by New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, where Rachel was the winner of the Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award. Currently George Clooney’s company, Smokehouse, plans to remake OUR BRAND IS CRISIS as a fiction feature. Rachel’s other credits include associate producer for the feature documentary WELL FOUNDED FEAR, producer/ director/ cinematographer for PAGEANT PERFECT, and associate producer of PEOPLE LIKE US: SOCIAL CLASS IN AMERICA. She has managed shoots across America, worked on films in Cuba and France, and directed casting for reality-based commercials.

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April 25, 2016

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April 12, 2016

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Festivals & Awards

Tribeca Film Festival 2013

In Ghana, a small American energy company fights to hold onto its discovery of oil just as a new government comes into power. In Nigeria, where oil has already been discovered, the ramifications of the oil industry have taken their toll on the people, most notably those in the Niger Delta who have seen none of the benefits of this new wealth. As the American company falls under the scrutiny of the new Ghanaian government and the U.S. Justice Department, the contracts for the oil field languish. Jobs are lost, power plays are made and all the while, the Ghanaian people wait to reap the benefits. In the Niger Delta, pipelines are attacked and set on fire as militants continue to demand more of the wealth from their government. With unprecedented access and an unflinching eye, Big Men takes us deep into the African oil industry in Ghana and Nigeria, delivering an exposé on the ambition, greed and corruption that threaten to exacerbate Africa’s resource curse and leave more of its citizens behind. 

—Vivian Tse

+ Festival Website

Hot Docs International Film Festival 2013

True/False 2014

Reviews

ASTONISHING! This cool and incisive snapshot of global capitalism at work is as remarkable for its access as for its refusal to judge.”

-The New York Times - *Critics' Pick*

BRILLIANT! If you want to see how the world works, as opposed to how we are told it works - or how we wish it might work - you need to see 'Big Men,' a remarkable new investigative documentary about oil, money, Africa and America... Vivid, compassionate, unstinting”

-Salon.com

Unforgettable”

-Kenneth Turan, LA Times