Ben Kempas

published Who has done the most 2011-10-30 02:59:16 +0200

Who has done the most

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published What your friends are up to 2011-10-30 02:58:08 +0200

followed Filmmakers 2012-12-06 10:00:47 +0100


From left, F. Gertten, M. Jangård, J. Osmund, B. Binderup, N. Pagh Andersen

Fredrik Gertten, director

Fredrik Gertten is an award winning director and journalist based in Malmö, Sweden. 
In 1994 he founded the production company WG Film. Before he worked as a foreign correspondent and columnist for radio, TV and press in Africa, Latin America, Asia and around Europe. Today he combines film making with a role as a creative producer on WG Film - famous for local stories with a global understanding, with several films catching the identity and transformation of his hometown. Featuring international stars like footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic in True Blue - The way back and architect Santiago Calatrava in The Socalist, the Architect and the Twister Tower, among others. Dole Food company made his film BANANAS!* controversial by suing the company, producer and director. The fight for the film and freedom of speech won international recognition. In Sweden awarded with several prices including the Anna Politkovskaya freedom of speech award. Read Fredrik's full filmography on his IMDB site.

Margarete Jangård, producer

Margarete Jangård is a producer with her main focus on creative documentaries. After seven years on WG Film she stands behind films such as BANANAS!*, Love Always, Carolyn, I bought a rainforest, Milkbar, The socialist, the Architect and the Twisted Tower and more. She has a background in commercials and advertising which she worked with for almost 20 years. Now supplemented by several years of international networking around Europe, USA and Canada. 
Read Margarete's full filmography on her IMDB site

Jesper Osmund, editor

Jesper Osmund has worked as a film editor since 1991. He has edited over 45 feature length documentaries, 6 feature films, a couple of short films and miniseries for TV and more than 600 commercials. Lately he combines his editing with holding lectures in dramaturgy and teaches at work-shops all over Europe together with EDN - European Documentary Network. On WG Film he is the editor behind famous productions such as BANANAS!* and An Ordinary Family. Read Jesper's full filmography at his IMDB site.

Benjamin Binderup, editor

Benjamin Binderup graduated in 2005 from The National Film and Television School in London. Has worked as a professional film editor since 2002, mostly with commercial films and music videos. After his education Benjamin made his way into fiction, and has worked on several fiction films such as the award-winning Manden med de Gyldne ører and DR TV2 thriller series Den som dræber. Read Benjamin's full filmography at his IMDB site.

Niels Pagh Andersen, narrative consultant

Niels Pagh Andersen started his career as an assistant for two of Denmark’s most important editors, Christian Hartkopp and Janus Billeskov Jansen. Since 1979 he has worked as a freelance film editor and has cut more than 250 films of widely different categories.  Some examples of his award-winning work are: Welcome to Denmark, The 3 Rooms of Melancholia, Everlasting Moments and others. Read Niel's full filmography at his IMDB site.

Full credits on

followed Background 2012-12-06 10:00:59 +0100


BANANAS!* was one of the most talked-about documentary films of 2009. The interest from media and the support from audiences and fellow filmmakers has been overwhelming. Below is a brief outline of the events during the hectic months before and after the film’s premiere. 

(Spoiler alert - You might want to watch the film before reading all this...) 

BANANAS! Graffiti

In April 2009, BANANAS!* was selected to compete in the Los Angeles Film Festival to be held in June.

On May 8th, a hearing about the fraud case featured in BANANAS!*, was held in Los Angeles Superior Court. BANANAS!* was the subject of a discussion between Judge Victoria Chaney and Dole attorney Andrea Neuman, and the trailer for the film was showed in the court room. In regard to the film, Judge Chaney stated to those present: “Just so we are clear, I am not in any way going to make, and I will not consider, any request for prior restraint on free speech. Okay?  So, don’t ask me to go try and contact the film company. I don’t have jurisdiction over them. But even if I did, don’t ask me for it.” After the hearing, Dole’s law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, sent a letter to WG Film, ITVS and all of the sponsors of the Los Angeles Film Festival. Dole did not like the trailer, nor the promo material featured on the website.

  • Neither Dole nor their attorneys had seen the completed film – they had only seen the trailer. “Strange things happens in LA. Mighty forces showing arms”, Gertten twittered.Five days later, WG Film’s U.S. lawyer, Richard J. Lee, wrote in response to Dole’s letter: “The film is a balanced documentary of a trial based on actual events. Most of the factual information contained in the film is stated by its subjects, not by the filmmaker, who is essentially acting as a reporter.

  • On May 14th Dole’s lawyers sent a second “cease and desist” letter, still trying to shut down a film they had not seen. We responded by offering tickets to the LA premiere on June 20th.

    On June 5th, based on threats from Dole of possible legal action against the festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival moved BANANAS!* out of competition. Instead, a “special case study screening” was arranged, with a post-screening discussion with Gertten.

    On June 8th, the Los Angeles Business Journal published a story about BANANAS!* entitled ”The Big Slip-Up” with the sub headline “Documentary on lawyer needs fact-check.” The Los Angeles Business Journal, however, clearly did not conduct any fact-checking on its own article, let alone the film, because nobody at the Los Angeles Business Journal had seen the film. Following the article, Gertten stated in a press release: “In answer to the question of whether my film is fraudulent, I cannot see that it is.  Everything I filmed is the truth and how this all played out during this trial.  The most important evidence in the case is a letter between Standard Fruit Company (now Dole) and Dow Chemicals. This is hard evidence and was not something that I made up.”


    Team video conference. Publicist David Magdael shows the front page of the L.A. Business Jounal. "Documentary turns Dole foe, into hero despite evidence that he fabricated facts of court case". (From left) Fredrik Gertten, David Magdael. Photo:Ovoo

    On June 8th, a news team from Swedish National Television (SVT) interviewed Fredrik Gertten. Shortly after the story was broadcast, the reporter was contacted by Dole’s PR firm, Gibraltar Associates in Washington D.C. Three days later, another interview was made by the same team, now with the focus on the fraud accusations, including a telephone interview with Michael Carter, Dole’s Executive Vice President. The story was broadcast on prime time national SVT news.

    June 20th – premiere day. Just hours before the screening, the Film Independent board held an internal screening, and discussed what to do. They decided to proceed, and BANANAS!* was screened at the UCLA James Bridges Theatre. In the last minute, however, BANANAS!* was pulled out from the Audience Award. Festival volunteers even had to re-collect the voting ballets from the sitting audience. Before the screening, the executive director of Film Independent, Dawn Hudson, read a statement addressing why the film was removed from competition.

    On July 7th, Dole filed a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against WG Film, director Gertten and producer Margarete Jangård over the LA screenings of BANANAS!*. The lawsuit claims that the film defames Dole.

    On October 1, BANANAS!* was screened in a fully booked meeting room in the Swedish parliament. After the screening, MPs Mats Johansson and Luciano Astudillo launched a cross-party petition, collecting names in the Parliament. In the petition they are asking Dole to withdraw their lawsuit. The will to defend free speech was overwhelming from politicians from left to right, and the story got widely spread in Swedish media. Read more...


    On October 9, BANANAS!* had its Swedish premiere. Over 20 cinemas all over Sweden screened the film simultaneously. After the screening, Fredrik Gertten was interviewed by Orvar Säfström at Spegeln Cinema in Malmö. The interview was broadcasted live, and audiences all over Sweden could send questions via SMS. Over 400 questions were received. A recording of this Q&A will be included on the BANANAS!* DVD, with planned release in December, 2009.The same morning, reviews were published in all major Swedish newspapers. Dagens Nyheter, Sydsvenskan, Aftonbladet and Expressen all gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Read more...

    On October 15, BANANAS!* was once again discussed in the Swedish parliament, this time on government level. The Swedish minister of culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, met with Fredrik Gertten, free speech lawyer Percy Bratt and MPs Mats Johansson and Luciano Astudillo to get a deeper insight into the matter. The same day, Dole withdrew their lawsuit. In a press release, Dole said they had made their decision in light of the free speech concerns being expressed in Sweden, although they continues to believe in the merits of its case.

    On October 29, director Fredrik Gertten, producer Margarete Jangård and WG Film withdrew their counterclaim against Dole. However, they asked the court to compel Dole to pay the fees and costs incurred to defend the lawsuit. 

    On October 22, the final anti-SLAPP hearing was held after a long series of postponed dates. The hearing was a success for Fredrik Gertten, Margarete Jangård and WG Film, but the written ruling was not released until one month later. Download the anti-SLAPP hearing transscript.


    On November 17, the written ruling was finally released. The Los Angeles Superior Court granted the anti-SLAPP motion filed by Fredrik Gertten, Margarete Jangård and WG Film, and struck the defamation complaint filed by Dole. The Court found that a “careful review of the film did not support Dole’s assertions” in the complaint. In addition to striking the lawsuit with prejudice, the Court ordered Dole to pay attorneys fees and costs in the amount of $200,000.  

    Read the full story on

    published Screen the film in How can you help? 2011-10-30 00:58:14 +0200

    published Spread the word in How can you help? 2011-10-30 00:52:13 +0200

    Spread the word

    Help us spread the word about BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*

    followed Sign up 2012-12-06 10:02:03 +0100

    Sign up for BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*

    Sign up for updates on the documentary and the latest on the BANANAS!* case. Get notified when the film is screening near you and when it's available online or on DVD.

    published On a screen near you 2011-09-19 12:18:00 +0200

    On a screen near you

    Use the RSVP button to let us know you're coming, but you'll still need to buy tickets as indicated. The ticket prices link to the respective external websites.

    For all screenings in Sweden, please see our Swedish website.
    For all screenings in UK/Ireland, please visit Dogwoofs website (distributor).
    For all screenings in Canada, please visit Kinosmith website (distributor). 

    published About the film 2011-09-19 12:18:00 +0200


    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)

    published THE BLOG 2011-09-19 12:18:00 +0200

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    Ben Kempas
    Documentary filmmaker and cinematographer. Producer (PMD) at the Scottish Documentary Institute. Co-host of The D-Word.

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