Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com
Following the controversy from the sideline, with sporadic updates weekends at my local coffee place, I have been waiting for this movie.
Even if I got to know the outcome and have heard some things throughout the years I had no idea what kind of pressure Fredrik Gertten and his staff and colleagues went through.
One of the, if not The largest fruit company in the world with billions to spend together with a battalion of lawyers and a successful PR-firm tried to scare the documentary film community to silence.
Without even have watched the movie they claimed the movie was built on a fraud and threatened with legal actions if it was ever screened.
When threats didn’t work and the film still was screened at the Sundance film festival in Los Angeles, although out of competition, Dole went on suing Fredriks company WG Film, Fredrik himself and everybody involved in making the movie.
Dole went even further. Everyone touching, or just mentioned, the movie – journalists, reporters, bloggers got threatening letters from a PR-firm with a invitation to speak with Dole’s vice president.
What Dole did not count on was the Swedish people.
I have not bought a Dole fruit or a banana of any brand for the last 3 years. What I alone do may not make that much difference, and I never thought it would, it was just my own small protest.
But when close to 9 million people doing the same thing it says something –
Don’t mess with the Swedes! We have had freedom of speech as long as USA has been a nation, do not try to silence us!
I went to the screening with miss Z and she was very interested and, not so little, moved after.
Walking home I realized we had seen to very different movies;
I watch a friend and a small filmmaker fighting a big corporation, David vs. Goliath.
Miss Z watch a movie where a people joined up, food chains and grocery stores discussed boycotting a brand after customer pressure, the Swedish parliament raised the issue why an American company tried to shut down a Swedish movie and finally the little man, and the people, won.
Coming from Latin America, one of the most dangerous countries for journalists and human right workers to operate in, where uncomfortable people are tortured, killed or just disappear, this movie was almost surreal.
Maybe Fredrik not only made a movie about his own battle, maybe he, unintentional, made a movie about how a true democracy should work.
With the controversy after Bananas! funders don’t exactly lining up out of fear of being sued and Fredrik is fundraising on Kickstarter to take Big Boys Gone Bananas! to USA and the rest of the world.
Even if you don’t want to pledge, at least click through and read his own words.
Q&A after the premiere screening in Malmö Sweden