Valve Turners

Convinced that the government is doing nothing to stop Climate Change, a group of everyday people risk their freedom to break into oil facilities and shut down pipelines in five states.

  • Steve Liptay
    Gasland, DIVEST! The Climate Movement on Tour
  • John Paul Horstmann
    Cold in July, Killing Them Softly, I Want My MTV, Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston, Bodyslam
  • Matt Sanchez
    Gasland, Gasland Part II, Blood on the Mountain, Indians and Cowboys
  • Tim Maloney
    Executive Producers
    Southern Charm: New Orleans
  • Kerri Borsuk
    Executive Producers
    I Want My MTV, Bodyslam: Revenge of the Banana, Botero, Henri Dauman: Looking Up, The Habit of Beauty
  • Kyle Cadotte
    Executive Producers
    Bootstraps, The Story of Plastic, Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock
  • James Hansen
    Key Cast
  • Bill McKibben
    Key Cast
  • Lauren Regan
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 15, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Bahamas, Puerto Rico, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital HDS
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Steve Liptay

The climate emergency is Steve’s primary focus as a filmmaker. In 2016, he co-directed and edited DIVEST!, about the divestment movement. He contributed cinematography and editing to the HBO documentary HOW TO LET GO which premiered at Sundance 2016. Earlier in his career, Steve was a biologist on the Gulf Coast working on conservation of coastal bird populations. He holds an M.S. in Environmental Policy from Bard College and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Prescott College.

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Director Statement

In 2016 I was invited to embed myself as a filmmaker with a group of activists called the Valve Turners, as they prepared to shut down oil pipelines in several western states. The experience inspired a central question that I wanted explore with this film: If our government is unwilling to protect its own citizens from the impending threat of climate change, at what point is it our own responsibility to take action into own hands? What actions are necessary, legal and effective?

Over the next three years I documented the clear and present dangers —the fires, floods, hurricanes intensified by the effects of Climate Change— in an effort to show that this problem is already beginning to impact everyday people. I also attended the trials of the Valve Turners (some of whom were convicted) as they sought to argue in court that they were taking action to prevent future harm to these victims, a strategy known as The Necessity Defense. Their efforts will not stop, but neither will the growing dangers to our planet. It is my hope that this film will inspire a new generation to learn from our past mistakes, to wake up and realize that action must be taken soon, the moment is being thrust upon them, and that the power is now in their hands.