What is a big corporation capable of in order to protect its brand? Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten's experienced this recently. His previous film BANANAS!* (2009) recounts the lawsuit that 12 Nicaraguan plantation workers brought against the fruit giant Dole Food Company.
The film was selected for competition by the Los Angeles Film Festival. Nothing wrong so far, right? But then Gertten gets a strange message: the festival removes BANANAS!* from competition. Then a scathing article appears in the Los Angeles Business Journal about the film, and Gertten subsequently receives a letter from Dole's attorney threatening him with legal action. What follows is an unparalleled thriller that has Gertten capturing the entire process - from DOLE attacking the producers with a defamation lawsuit, bullying scaretactics, to media-control and PR-spin. This personal film reveals precisely how a multinational will stop at nothing to get its way - freedom of speech is at stake. As Dole's PR company puts it, "It is easier to cope with a bad conscience than a bad reputation". (from the IDFA catalogue)