Valve Turners - Feature Film

As the climate emergency accelerates, the valve turners take direct action by disrupting the entire flow of oil entering the United States near the Canadian border. Facing years in prison, they argue to the courts that their actions were justified in light of the political inertia stymying climate solutions. As they go to trial, the consequences of the climate crisis are revealed as powerful hurricanes and deadly fires strike the US.


On October 11, 2016 a team of nine climate activists carried out a plan that was months in the making, a bid to disrupt the entire flow of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada into the United States. In solidarity with Standing Rock, they used pipeline emergency valves in four states to stop the flow of 2.8 million barrels of oil — approximately 15% of US daily consumption. Reuters called it, “the biggest coordinated move on US energy infrastructure ever undertaken by environmental protesters,” an act that “shook the North American energy industry.” 

The activists and journalists involved were charged with a total of 27 felonies and 15 misdemeanors, resulting in a two year legal battle as they prepare for jury trials in Washington, North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota. They seek to present expert witness testimony about the climate emergency to legally justify their actions by using what is known as the ‘necessity defense.’ As they face the possibility of years in prison, hurricanes and fires cause vast devastation as the climate emergency accelerates. 

Hurricane Michael strikes the Florida panhandle in October 2018.
Filmmaker Steve Liptay capturing the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, FL.
Camp Fire in Paradise, CA destroys approximately 16,000 residential structures. 

We have set a goal of $50,000 to finish the film.
Editing: funding will go towards crafting a film that weaves together these compelling subjects, the ups and downs of the courtroom proceedings with on-the-ground accounts from the climate emergency. 
Post Production: funding will be used for graphic design, titling, the score and sound design, hiring a sound mixer and a post-production producer to handle licensing, fair use certification and other legalities.

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Steve Liptay: Director, Producer and Cinematographer

The climate emergency and our response to it are Steve's primary focus as a documentary filmmaker and photographer. In 2016, he co-directed, produced and edited DIVEST!, a feature-length concert film that chronicles the origins of the fossil fuel divestment movement. He contributed cinematography and editing to the award-winning HBO documentary How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change which premiered at Sundance 2016. From the campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline to the Valve Turners direct action, his work has centered around movement-building and keeping fossil fuels in the ground. Earlier in his career, Steve was a biologist in the Gulf coast region working on research and 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. | 

Matthew Sanchez: Editor and Producer

Matthew is an Emmy nominated filmmaker whose work ranges from documentary to experimental, often combining the two. Most notably he is editor, cinematographer, and co-creator of the Oscar nominated and Emmy winning, Gasland series. Over his career, his work has been integral to many feature documentaries for HBO and Netflix, commercials for VH1, and documenting the underground NYC music scene; with varied clients such as Wired Magazine, College Humor, Sephora, and PBS.

John Paul Horstmann: Producer

John Paul is an producer, writer, and editor whose projects have debuted at Cannes, Sundance, and the Tribeca Film Festival and sold to multiple outlets. He has cut many feature films over 15 years, including work on Assassination of Jesse James and Killing Them Softly, both starring Brad Pitt. He is currently editing a science fiction series starring Keanu Reeves. As a producer he and his team created the popular Bravo Series Southern Charm, Southern Charm: New Orleans, and Summer House.  In 2015, with Ryan, he wrote and directed the documentary, "Bodyslam: Revenge of the Banana", which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Currently Horstmann is in the midst of a feature documentary about the secret history of MTV in the 1980s, which will air in the fall.

Martin Crane: Original Music

Martin Crane is a NY/NC-based composer whose most recent projects include the forthcoming feature, The Escape of Prisoner 614, starring Ron Perlman and Martin Starr. After releasing two albums and touring nationally under the name Brazos, Martin started working in film as the music supervisor on the Oscar-nominated documentary, Cutie and the Boxer. Since then, he’s scored many shorts and commercials, including the Emmy-nominated science documentary series, Animated Life. He also writes music under his own name. He most recently released an EP of original string quartets, called Noon Quartets, in December. |
  • Joanne Horstmann 
    • $100 
    • 39 mos
  • Jacqueline Danos 
    • $25 
    • 43 mos
  • Elizabeth Neuse 
    • $130 
    • 43 mos
  • Lynn Shoemaker 
    • $5 
    • 43 mos
  • Ericsson Broadbent 
    • $50 
    • 43 mos
See all


Steve Liptay 
Brooklyn, NY

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