August 24, 2009

German filmmakers warns Dole

Filed under: News — admin @ 2:40 pm

Thomas Frickel, CEO of The German Documentary Association (AG DOK), has sent a letter to Dole CEO David DeLorenzo and European CEO Jean-Christophe Juilliard. On behalf of AG DOK, he strongly criticizes Dole’s attempts to silence BANANAS!*, and demand that they immediately cease their attack on the film and the freedom of information. Otherwise, he will officially ask the 850 members of AG DOK to use their contacts and resources to produce critical films and news reports about Dole and its methods. Read the full letter below.



Jean-Christophe Juilliard
CEO / Directeur Général Europe de Dole

David DeLorenzo
President and CEO
Dole Food Company, Inc.


Frankfurt, August 17th, 2009

Dear Sirs,

We, the members of the German Documentary Association, are outraged at how your company is pressuring the independent Swedish production company WG Film in order to prevent the exhibition and distribution of the film “Bananas”.

We view your company’s actions as an attack on the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression which are an intrinsic part of any open society. This is absolutely unacceptable. Your attempts to pressurize film festival sponsors and to ruin a small film production company by burying it in lawsuits are both shabby and transparent. These Machiavellian methods only serve to harm your company’s reputation beyond repair.

The German Documentary Association – Germany’s largest professional film organization numbering more than 850 documentary filmmakers, directors and producers – demands that you immediately cease your attacks on the freedom of information as well as stop your company’s inhuman practices in Latin America which the film “Bananas” criticizes. Otherwise we will officially ask our members to use their excellent contacts to national and international television stations to produce critical films and news reports scrutinizing Dole and its methods. Furthermore, we will ask our partner organizations throughout Europe to encourage their journalists and filmmakers to join our campaign. Many of our journalist and film colleagues are well connected with numerous NGOs which are very experienced in organizing and running boycott campaigns. I can’t imagine that all this would be in your best interest.

We anxiously await your response.



Thomas Frickel
Chairman and CEO – German Documentary Association / AG DOK



August 22, 2009

BANANAS!* free speech campaign

Filed under: Take Action — admin @ 6:45 pm

Dole Food Company is suing filmmaker Fredrik Gertten, producer Margarete Jangård and our production company WG Film for slander and defamation with our film BANANAS!*. The film follows an historic event in an American court, and is a matter of public record – not defamation.

We are supporters of free speech. We believe that filmmakers have the right to make films on important issues and bring stories to the forefront that can create debate and criticism. Lawsuits such as this one are meant to silence and stop all communication and dialogue.

Dole is trying to shift the focus from themselves and their controversial treatment of banana workers on to us and our film. This unfounded lawsuit means more than just silencing a single documentary film. It is a threat against free speech itself and will set precedence for all of us if Dole succeeds. We can not let Dole stop BANANAS!*.

In October 2009, BANANAS!* will premiere in the following Swedish cities:

(More will be announced soon)
Båstad, Scala, Oct 9
Fagersta, Folkets hus, Oct 9
Gusum, Folkan bio, Oct 9
Göteborg, Roy, Oct 9
Haparanda, Folkets hus, Oct 9
Järfälla, Folkets hus Kallhäll, Oct 9
Lund, Kino, Oct 9
Malmö, Spegeln, Oct 9
Mörrum, Bio Laxen, Oct 9
Nynäshamn, Folkets hus, Oct 9
Osby, Bio Borgen, Oct 9
Skärhamn, Saga, Oct 9
Skoghall, Folkets hus, Oct 9
Stockholm, Rio, Oct 9
Stockholm, Zita, Oct 9
Tomelilla, Brösarps bio, Oct 9
Trollhättan, Forum/Folkets hus, Oct 9
Uppsala, Fyris, Oct 9 (no broadcast)
Västerås, Elektra, Oct 9
Ånge, Folkets hus, Oct 9
Åseda, Folkets hus, Oct 9
Örebro, Roxy, Oct 9
Östersund, Regina, Oct 9 (no broadcast)

More premiere dates, October 2009:
Kumla, Folkan, Oct 11
Älmhult, Folkan, Oct 13
Söråker, Folkets hus, Oct 14
Umeå, Folkets bio, Oct 16
Norrköping, Harlekinen, Oct 18 & 25
Växjö, Palladium, Oct 22
Lidköping, Folkets hus, Oct 23
Karlstad, Arenan, Oct 26-27


Take action
We need your help! We want the film to be seen by as many people as possible. Here are some suggestions what you can do:

  • Spread the word by telling the BANANAS!* story to all your friends.
  • Join our Facebook fan page and invite your friends.
  • Spread the trailer: YouTube » or Vimeo »
  • Start a debate in your local newspaper about for example corporate responsibility, food politics or the importance of free speech.
  • Pay a visit to your local food store and ask where their bananas come from. Demand that they sell only fair trade bananas.
  • Dig deeper into the story and publish articles on your blog. Help us shift the focus away from the controversy around the film and back to Dole (or other transnational food companies) and their actions in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
  • Send emails or letters to Dole and their lawyers and let them know you don’t like how they are trying to silence an independent filmmaker by litigation.
  • Send emails to groups and organizations working with food politics, pesticides, corporate responsibility and free speech. Tell them about the film and the lawsuit and ask them to post news about it on their website and link to this site.
  • Launch a BANANAS!* petition online or sign an existing one. Sign the Reporters Without Borders petition »
  • If you are an artist (musician, moviemaker etc.) let the press and your fans know that you support us.


Further action
If BANANAS!* screens in your city, gather some friends and create a local support group. Help us represent BANANAS!* at the screenings. Do you want to help us? Send a mail to

  • Put up posters around the city. Hand out newsletters and sell T-shirts and posters at the screenings. We will send you everything you need by mail from our Malmö office and keep in touch by email and telephone.
  • Inform local politicians, organizations, activists and celebrities about the film and the dates of the screenings. Give them a call or send them our ready made info letter. Ask them to make statements to the press about what they think about the film and the lawsuit.
  • Arrange debates after the screenings about for example food politics, corporate responsibility or free speech. Invite researchers, journalists and representatives from fair trade organizations and corporations. Maybe the local school, university or other study association can provide a location and assist in arranging such an event?
  • If you are an artist, create a piece of art inspired by bananas. For example your relation to the fruit or a comment to the political and social dilemmas it holds. With your permission, we would love to publish your work or provide links here on this site.


For the latest BANANAS!* updates and news


August 14, 2009


Filed under: Take Action — admin @ 2:32 pm

All BANANAS!* merchandise is handled by the WG Film Shop. When you click on an item, you are re-directed to that item on the shop website. The shop is located in Malmö, Sweden and supports payments via credit card and PayPal. Thank you for supporting BANANAS!*

The BANANAS!* DVD is now available in Scandinavia.
UK and US release will follow in 2010.

Order your copy now »
(link to the WG Film shop)


15 Euro

Picture: PAL 16:9 Widescreen
Sound: 5.1 Surround
Length: 87 min + 38 min bonus material
Language: English, Spanish
Subtitles: Swedish, Danish, Finish
Region: 2
Cover: Swedish

Bonus material:

  • Interview with Fredrik Gertten from Spegeln cinema, Malmö (in Swedish).
  • “Pictures from a banana plantation”, 13 min.

BANANAS!* Posters

white poster

White poster (70×100 cm)
"On trial for malice"

10 EUR

Download web version (JPG) »

black poster

Black poster (70×100 cm)
"At any cost?"

10 EUR

Download web version (JPG) »

Go to WG Film Shop »

August 13, 2009

Filmmakers express their support for BANANAS!*

Filed under: News — admin @ 4:16 pm

During the first weekend of August, BANANAS!* was screened for the first time in Sweden at Båstad Film Festival. “The reactions are very strong, the response is great and the discussions are intense”, Gertten said to Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan.

In the Sydsvenskan article, several internationally acclaimed documentary filmmakers expressed their support to director Fredrik Gertten and BANANAS!*.

British filmmaker Kim Longinotto wrote in an email to Sydsvenskan: “I hope they don’t succeed in silencing [Gertten]. These large companies are accustomed to getting their will through. Therefore, it’s inspiring for the rest of us when someone dares to stand up and question their actions. /…/ The fact that a powerful multinational corporation is trying to discourage the filmmaker illustrates the power of this film. Fredrik has scared them.” (Our translation).

Austrian filmmaker Hubert Sauper, familiar to similar controversy following his Academy Award nominated film “Darwin’s nightmare”, also expressed his support and were quoted writing: “We must organize ourselves as filmmakers. /…/ I would use this opportunity to turn Dole’s actions against them. I believe that the public are informed enough to see through their way of dealing with criticism. /…/ Even though I havn’t seen [Gertten’s] film, I support him morally.” (Our translation).

Another filmmaker, American Robert Kenner, is currently attracting a lot of attention in the U.S with his film “Food Inc.” which takes a close look at the American food industry.

“What is happening with Fredrik Gertten and his film is a major concern. /../ When I started making ‘Food Inc.’, I had no idea how far corporations were willing to go to prevent the public from finding out where our food comes from. It’s alarming how much power they have to keep us uninformed. When transparency is lost, we are all in danger”, Kenner wrote to Sydsvenskan (our translation).


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