Fredrik Gertten was invited to Italy yesterday to receive the award for Best International Documentary at MIFF Awards in Milan. The film was screened to a closed jury last month and was nominated for both Best Documentary and Best Editing. Yesterday the winners was announced at a ceremony, where Fredrik received the prize with the motivation "For the courage to tell his own 'David & Goliath' story, involving the audience from the beginning on a hot pro-environment issue."
Fredrik Gertten at the award ceremony. Photo: MIFF Awards
Since March the film has received many prizes and great recognition from both jurys and audience. It won the Audience Award and The Rudolf Vrba Jury Award at One World Human Rights Film Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. It also won Best Documentary at Sarasota Film Festival in Florida, US. Among the audience it became the favourite at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, US and second favourite at Hot Docs in Toronto, Canada, where over 150 films was shown.
In Canada, there is lots of talk about Fredrik Gertten and his movie BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*:
Fredrik has given a number of interviews this week, and if you were not able to see or listen to them live, check them out now instead.
Listen to the interview with Gertten on CBC's The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti, and watch the inteview on Business News Network.
Since we get a lot of questions about our financing situation, we decided to let producer of BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*, Margarete Jangård, answer some of the most frequent questions we get.
Image taken from BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*: In the midst of the controversy, Margarete recieved an aggresive letter with a provocative ending. Obviously the writer understood that a small production company will have problems surviving a fight with a bullying multinational.
BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!* returns to the US after the premiere at the prestegious Sundance Film Festival in January. On Thursday April 12 the film begins its three week tour and the first screening is set to Yale University in New Haven, followed by Sarasota Film Festival, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durhamn and The Washington DC International Film Festival. In the beginning of May the film premieres in Canada at Hot Docs in Toronto followed by DOXA in Vancouver. Director Fredrik Gertten will attend all screenings.
For more details about the screenings, please visit the films screening calendar.
The Good Pitch Europe selection has been announced - and we're glad to say we are IN!
The Good Pitch brings together filmmakers with NGO's, foundations, philantropists, brands and media around leading social issues to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all - for the partners, the films and good for society.
We're in good company at the pitch - the international line up of filmmakers includes multi-award and Palme d’Or winner Ken Loach (Spirit of ’45), the Egyptian-American director of Control Room and Startup.com, Jehane Noujaim (The Square), Brazilian filmmaker and TED fellow Julia Bacha (My Neighbourhood). Also on the lineup are French director Florence Martin-Kessler (State Builders), Pekka Lehto with his project Kaputt and the UK/American directors of Call me Kuchu, Malika Zouhali-Worrall & Katherine Fairfax Wright.
You can read about the selected projects here.
The Good Pitch Europe takes place in London on the 25th of June and is organized by the BRITDOC Foundation together with numerous partners and friends. Read more about the big idea here.
More wonderful news! Among the winning films of this year's One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague, BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!* takes the cake for both the Rudolf Vrba Award AND the Bageterie Boulevard Audience Award!
This is what the festival press release said:
“The film highlights the perseverance of human rights defenders and their fight against the dominating powers of international corporations that threaten freedom of speech. The film empowers citizen reporters, investigative journalists and the society to investigate wrongdoings and get involved in cross border issues. This film should be for sure screened in journalism schools,” said jury member Elena Milashina.
Our very proud and happy producer Margarete Jangård is in Prague today to recieve the awards. You can read all about the winning films here.
We've got some really great news!
The Bertha BRITDOC Fund for Journalism is an international film fund dedicated to supporting long form feature documentaries of a journalistic nature. These nice people have been impressed by Big Boys Gone Bananas!* and has granted us £10 000 to support our ongoing legal costs. From their site:
"We are looking for films that break the important stories of our time, expose injustice, bring attention to unreported issues and cameras into regions previously unseen. This new fund recognises such films are often delicate and protracted, making them difficult to fund. With a mission to enable in-depth analysis of issues through long-form investigative filmmaking, we are particularly looking to work with filmmakers with a journalistic background or those who are collaborating with journalists".
If you are curious about the other grantees and their films, you can read more about them here. Thanks a lot, BRITDOC!
In this very moment the film is playing in theatres all over Sweden. I have been travelling around, meeting audiences all over the country. We opened with four special screenings in cooperation with Doc Lounge, live music, DJs and huge crowds of enthusiastric audiences. The 24th was the official release date and the reviews flooded in. And we can proudly announce that they're really good. We are at the very top of the Swedish critics' list, with the highest score. Average 4.0 out of 5. Really cool.
I've been doing interviews almost every day. I was booked for two morning TV shows the very day Sweden got a new crown princess-to-be. Of course, the media went crazy, and I was kicked out of the TV4 show. A bit frustrating, since I had got up at 5.30, shaved and showered – my first thought: "Well done, Dole!" The SVT morning show did allow for a short slot for me. So in the waiting room, I was hanging around with the Archbishop and a ton of sleazy lovers of monarchy...
One of the rewards in our Kickstarter campaign is the book 'Washington on $10 Million a Day' by Ken Silverstein, who is one of the participants in BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*. (Pledge $50 to Fredrik's cause, and the book will be yours.)
For Harper's Magazine, Ken wrote the article 'Their men in Washington' which we're reprinting here with his permission.
In March, when the U.S. State Department announced its new global survey of human rights, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared that the report demonstrated America’s commitment to civil liberties, the rule of law, and a free press. “We are recommitting ourselves to stand with those courageous men and women who struggle for their freedom and their rights,” she said. “And we are recommitting ourselves to call every government to account that still treats the basic rights of its citizens as options rather than, in President Bush’s words, the non-negotiable demands of human dignity.”
Flipping through the report, however, one cannot help but notice how many of the countries that flout “the non-negotiable demands of human dignity” seem to have negotiated themselves significant support from the U.S. government, whether military assistance (Egypt, Colombia), development aid (Azerbaijan, Nigeria), expanded trade opportunities (Angola, Cameroon), or official Washington visits for their leaders (Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan). The granting of favorable concessions to dictatorial regimes is a practice hardly limited to the current administration: Bill Clinton came into office having said that China’s access to American markets should be tied to improved human rights—specifically its willingness to “recognize the legitimacy of those kids that were carrying the Statue of Liberty” at Tiananmen Square—but left having helped Beijing attain its long-cherished goal of Permanent Most Favored Nation trade status. Jimmy Carter put the promotion of human rights at the heart of his foreign policy, yet he cut deals for South American generals and Persian Gulf monarchs in much the same fashion as his successor, Ronald Reagan.
BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!* will be shown on 38 screens in Sweden in the coming month. The launch has already started with great film parties together with our friends at Doc Lounge in Malmö, Lund, Stockholm and Göteborg.
Friday 24 February the film opens in 14 theatres that will play the film commercially. On Wednesday 29th there will be a live broadcast from Malmö to 18 cinemas around the country. The audience can send text messages with questions to the director Fredrik Gertten and his lawyer Lincoln Bandlow.
Lincoln Bandlow is invited to Sweden to give a speech in parliament the same day, just before a screening of the film for the Swedish legislators. After the screening in parliament there will be debate about the worrying lack of balance between independent journalism and the growing PR and lobbying industry. Fredrik Gertten has been very active debating this issue in Swedish media over the last weeks. He asks for transparency:
"We the citizens need to know who pays for the lobbying. And how much."
Internationally, the film's festival life is gearing up. After IDFA in Amsterdam, the Sundance Film Festival, and Doc Point in Helsinki, now comes Zagreb Docs, the One World Film Festival in Prague, and the Festival Internacional de Cine de Punta del Este in Uruguay, with more to be announced soon.
Below is a full list of the Swedish screenings.