This is the Question & Answer Session with Fredrik Gertten after the world premiere of BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!* at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) on 19 November 2011...
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This is the documentary that made Dole so upset in the first place.
Juan “Accidentes” Dominguez is on his biggest case ever. On behalf of twelve Nicaraguan banana workers he tackles the Dole Food Company in a ground-breaking legal battle for their use of a banned pesticide that was known to cause sterility. Can he beat the giant, or will the corporation get away with it? In the suspenseful documentary BANANAS!*, filmmaker Fredrik Gertten sheds new light on the global politics of food.
One third of the production price of the average banana is used simply to cover the cost of pesticides1. All over the world, banana plantation workers are suffering and dying from the effects of these pesticides. Juan Dominguez, a million-dollar personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles, is on his biggest case ever representing over 10,000 Nicaraguan banana workers claiming to be afflicted by a pesticide known as Nemagon. Dole Food and Dow Chemicals are on trial.
Another banana worker is being buried in a small northern town in Nicaragua. For his whole life, Alberto Rosales used his machete to remove weeds from below the banana plants. His son says his last years were filled with pain, a body that was itching all night — and in the end his kidneys stopped working.
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Director Fredrik Gertten (by Martin Bogren)
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First there was a film about banana workers saying the Dole Food Company has made them infertile. Then Dole attacked the filmmakers. Now it's time for a new film!
A documentary by (and about) Fredrik Gertten. World Premiere at IDFA, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2011. North American Premiere in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival 2012
Screening dates for the films's world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam are now online.
Early summer 2009 was an extremely intense time for us. After proudly announcing that my film BANANAS!* was going to have its world premiere in competition at the Los Angeles Film Festival, we received an aggressive letter from a law firm representing DOLE Food Company. The cease and desist-letter told us to withdraw the film and the trailer, shut down the film's website.
WG film has four employes, DOLE Food Company 75,000 in 90 countries, making them the biggest fruit company in the world. This was no fun, but at the same time we felt that we had done a balanced film...
Some of you may know that I recently started working with the Scottish Documentary Institute, looking into new strategies and tools to connect filmmakers with their audience in a more meaningful and more sustainable way.
One of the things we're testing is how well a political campaigning tool called NationBuilder works for the documentary world. And when Fredrik asked me to help with the outreach campaign for his new film, I suggested that he should give this software a try.
So here we go. We're going bananas and building a nation. And we very much hope you'll be part of it.