June 11, 2009

BANANAS!* under fire – an update

Filed under: News — admin @ 9:00 pm

As you may have heard, our film has been under a microscope.

The Los Angeles Business Journal, in an article in their June 8 edition, cited the following headline “Legal: Documentary on lawyer needs fact-check”.

Unfortunately, the LA Business Journal could not have fact checked their own article let alone the film, because they haven’t seen it.

In fact to date, no one from Dole, Dole’s lawyers – Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP – or the Los Angeles Business Journal have actually seen the film. Their comments are based on pure speculation.

Judge Chaney responded directly to the lawyers and the court when Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP went to her court on May 8 to stop my film from being shown. 

On that day in her court and 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.” 

As they were unsuccessful with Judge Chaney, Dole’s lawyers started writing letters to us, our US partner ITVS, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and the LA Film Festival’s corporate sponsors, demanding that we ‘cease and desist’ plans to screen the film on June 20 at the Festival, and anywhere else in the world.

Dole’s team is now moving on to yet another strategy and have contacted the Swedish Consulate in LA and the Swedish Ambassador to the US in Washington, asking them to help stop the film.

To date they have succeeded in getting the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) to pull out of ‘co-hosting’ the film’s opening night at the Festival.  However, a lawyer from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher serves on the board of directors of the LAFLA.

All the partners in our film stand by BANANAS!* 100%. 

The filmmaking team behind BANANAS!*has decades of experience in the documentary industry.  Additionally, I have served as an international journalist for 25 years for the Swedish media.

It is important for all those interested in documentary – filmmakers and those who love the form – to stay focused on the facts. To that end we’ve added some of the letters referenced above onto our site for your perusal.  You can find them in the bottom of this post. Please log on regularly for the latest updates, and we look forward to sharing our opening with those of you at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 20 and 23.

Yours truly,

Fredrik Gertten

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The letters from Dole and our replies (PDF):


  1. I really like that you actually offered the lawyers of Dole two tickets to the screening of the film BANANAS!* at the LA Film Festival the 20:th!

    Comment by Merete Grut — June 12, 2009 @ 12:01 am

  2. If life deals you lemons, make lemonade.

    What if Dole was to admit that they f*cked up? Admit to its mistakes? Ask for forgiveness? Invest in making good on its bad?

    Imagine how powerful that energy shift could be…to be wrong and to admit it.

    Dole does not see the potential of transforming this conflict with the filmmaker into a harmonious relationship with the banana workers and their families and communities. They could be the “greenest” banana on the market. I’d buy that. So would the world.

    Comment by Anthony — June 12, 2009 @ 12:17 am

  3. Dole is a muderer!
    It is a scandal that film festival is ‘afraid’ of the big! crminal

    Where ie the “justice”???? in USA????

    Comment by Maria Nilsson — June 12, 2009 @ 9:34 am

  4. Swedish Television aired a local news story about the film a couple of days ago. Soon after they recieved a letter from Dole’s PR firm Gibraltar Associates

    (in swedish)

    The SVT Sydnytt piece:

    Comment by Johan Hallberg — June 12, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  5. an unacceptable situation!
    the film MUST be shown at the LA Film Festival.

    Comment by Rose-Marie Schneider — June 17, 2009 @ 9:24 am

  6. this is an out rage. how can I help

    Comment by rafael — June 18, 2009 @ 8:20 am

  7. I say, intentionally show the film despite what ANYONE says, and especially BECAUSE they complain – if this film is so bad, then wouldn’t everyone notice? And if it isn’t, what do they have to lose from making it readily available? I say, show the film, and ignore these paid lawyers and their ideas of right and wrong, and let the public decide!

    Comment by Martin — July 9, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  8. Here is what i´m going to do and also as an suggestion for you all:

    * Print artciles about the Banana companies, give it to your local supermarket and ask them to join our cause by not selling Doles or Chiquitas bananas.
    * By Fairtrade bananas.
    * Join the facebook group of bananas or open your own. I will open “Bojkotta Chiquita och Dole bananer” in facebook. Its good way to spread the message widely to your friends and their friends.

    Comment by Robert — October 5, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

  9. i want a link to watch this movie please

    Comment by crystal — November 9, 2010 @ 8:57 am

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