When Dole was going to hit us we wanted it on film

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...

BANANAS!* tells the story of Nicaraguan banana workers who sues DOLE for the use of a banned pesticide that the workers claim made them sterile, among other serious health effects. We had used only public court material. If they sued us, the could as well also sue CNN or Los Angeles Times.

But DOLE's aggressive lawyers kept sending us letters, the vice president of DOLE, Michael Carter told the Swedish TV news that DOLE would hit both us and the film festival with punative damage.

Still, we wanted to show our film. Our lawyer told me: Fredrik, the film is safe, but you must be prepared, this might take five years of your life. And if you go to Los Angeles, DOLE will probably deliver you with a law suit.

We decided to go anyway, to defend our film. And when DOLE was going to hit us with papers, we wanted it on film. 

That was the start of the new film BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*

It was a rough ride over almost two years. Fighting for freedom of speech, getting to know the hard way what a corporation is ready to do when they feel that their brand is under attack.

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@FredrikGertten tweeted link to this page. 2011-11-10 08:50:23 +0100
On the BIG BOYS BLOG, Fredrik Gertten on how BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!* started in 2009. http://t.co/TjdiEirA
published this page in THE BLOG 2011-10-30 22:47:45 +0100
The true story about a Swedish filmmaker and a banana corporation. Dirty tricks, lawsuits, manipulation, and the price of free speech.

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